20 People Trends to be aware of in the Workplace

Below are 20 trends/issues that I am seeing in the workplace either starting to creep in or will increasingly become bigger issues for Employers.

 1. Social Media Impact

The average teenager has more than 425 friends (Pew Research Centre 2013). When they post, they are used to an immediate response – often receiving over 100 likes/comments. The impact in the workplace is around the requirement for immediate feedback delivered very carefully. Particularly, they like to be told they are doing a good job more than once (generally publically) and care needs to be taken when providing constructive criticism.

2. Interpersonal Skills

In my experience, we are seeing some young people enter the workforce a lot later – in some cases it may be when they are 18 years of age or older (unlike me who had 3 jobs when I was 15). This mixed with the amount of time on technology is significantly damaging the development of interpersonal skills and consequently we are seeing the impact of younger people entering the workforce and not aware of standard social etiquette (including eye contact, personal space, language, number of texts/emails back and forth, basic courtesies etc).

3. Mental Health in the Workplace

Being able to recognise signs, check in on staff and provide vehicles for staff to share/open up in addition to having flexibility and understanding in the workplace are more critical than ever. It is no longer practical to use the saying ‘leave your personal lives at the door’. Rarely is this possible and can cause significant issues for employers if they don’t address this.

4. Conflict between FT,PT and Casual priorities

Particularly the conflict is that employees love the flexibility offered with casual positions however are wanting FT/PT roles more so for the ability to obtain loans/financial security. In contrast, employers are wanting flexibility around resourcing to deal with peaks and troughs and tough times which are not offered with the traditional PT/FT set ups.

5. Ageing population

With an aging population, households will likely see at least 3 generations living at home – meaning flexibility in the workplace not just to ‘pick up the kids’ but also to taking mum/dad/grandparents to doctors and/or having caring responsibilities. On the flip side, we are also seeing some staff use work as an opportunity to escape the home environment for the same reasons.

6. Rise of the Female Bully

This is offering slightly different management requirements to the traditional ‘male’ bully in the workplace. In my experience, this tends to be more difficult to manage as it is sometimes lots of smaller things as opposed to more obviously, threatening behaviour that traditionally sat with the male bully.

7. Succession Planning

It is not just females who historically have been worried about balancing parenting with work responsibilities. This is increasingly becoming as much of an issue for males as it is for females. I am seeing more and more men be the ‘stay at home dads’ and women re-entering the workplace however I am also seeing the current next level of management look at their bosses lifestyles and say “I don’t want that” leaving a big skills gap with the top tier replacements.

8. Wanting fast advancement

In contradiction to point 6…..Particularly Gen Y/Millenials have tools to learn things very quickly and therefore can sometimes expect their career paths and opportunities to escalate in the same way. 72% of millennials would like to become their own boss and therefore can get bored on their journey upwards if they are not escalating quickly.

9. Flexibility

The desire to be able to do all the things we want. Working long traditional hours is fast becoming a turn off for prospective employees and is being challenged. Employees are no longer expected to be at their desk from nine to five every day. Technological advancements have paved the way for an increase in more flexible working arrangements. In today’s ever-connected world, a physical workplace is no longer a necessity for employees to fulfil their duties. According to Bridget Loudon, co-founder and CEO at Expert360, “businesses that will succeed in 2015 are the ones that embrace technology to support their biggest asset: people”. However to note – we are also seeing this swing back around as some of the top organisations like Google who offered flexibility in work locations have seen the impact of losing team bonding and leveraging/learning off of each other.

10. Workplaces are becoming more serious

This is contradictory to what employees seem to want. They want more fun, enjoyable environments however, we in Australia are now also seeing Christmas parties and some of the other ‘social’ things disappear in the workplace due to lessons learnt, legal responsibilities, workplace health and safety risks and governance concerns.

11. Alcohol and Drug Dependency

We will definitely see more of these issues in the workplace – with the impact of financial pressure, gambling, conflicting family situations and so on…..we will see more of alcohol and drug related issues creeping into workplaces.

12. Emotional Intelligence – The need to connect and understand others’ emotions.

The need to connect with people more emotionally will be critical for future success. It is no longer – treat people how you want to be treated….but now – treat people how they would like to be treated. The ability to read people, their signs and recognise their behaviours will be critical for all leaders.

13. People work for leaders and causes

People want to work for businesses they feel proud of and connect with. Employees are moving from working for money to working for their purpose and they are definitely also looking for it with their work decision.

14. Changing hierarchical structures

Moving from the previous hierarchical to flatter, network based structures. Traditional org charts seem to be disappearing.

15. The rise of the freelancer

Thirty per cent of Australians are now undertaking some form of flexible freelance work. If Australia follows US trends, this number is expected to rise to 50% by 2020. This means that employers need to ensure they look at how they manage this from the perspective of time, intellectual property, confidentiality and so on.

16. Community being used as recruitment tool

While there are still roles for external recruiters (particularly around where governance and independence is required), employers will increasingly however be leveraging personal networks, social media and other communities as a recruitment tool.

17. Demand for ‘Administration’ skills changing

We are definitely wanting more from our administration roles. These roles are now vastly starting to include a wide variety of additional skills extending to a demand for experience in digital/social media tools and surveys, enews/writing, sales, IT, bookkeeping and database management. Key things employers are looking for are attention to detail, ability to save them time, help with ‘social media/IT stuff’, ability to build networks and reliability.

18. Mobile – mobile – mobile

Mobile usage is on the way up in a big way. We need to find ways to start talking to people effectively via mobile (when it comes to new employees, current employees and customers).

19. Interview traits

While obviously technical competencies are still important, in terms of weight, we are seeing behavioural and culture potential fit to organisations significantly increase. Ensure you have ways to measure behaviour traits in interviewing (and also be able to articulate what your requirements are). What I commonly hear is “We can train them in how to do X however we just want someone who is going to fit into the team and the business”.

20. Desire for enigmatic, visionary leaders

Our Millennials want to work for enigmatic, visionary and passionate leaders. “They place less value on traditional leadership attributes such as well-networked (17 percent), visible (19 percent) and technically-skilled (17 percent). Instead, their ideal leaders are strategic thinkers (39 percent), inspirational (37 percent), personable (34 percent) and visionary (31 percent)”. Barry Salzberg – Global CEO, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Some things you can do to help!

1) Develop your leadership and Emotional Intelligence skills.

2) Review what feedback channels you have set up in the workplace.

3) Ensure you are clear on why your business does what it does and communicate it – note this should be more than ‘to make a profit’.

4) Have the basics in place to protect your business – ie contracts of employment, code of conduct, grievance policy and some kind of employee manual and roll them out regularly ie Tip – schedule to do this either at the end of the year or beginning of the new year as a reminder to all staff and also to ask for their feedback.

5) Ensure your website is mobile optimised and think about how mobile communication may play a role in your business.

6) Review what policies you would like to have in place for 2nd/3rd employment – note traditional ones are to restrict any other employment.

7) Have rules defined around Drugs and Alcohol in your workplace – including social functions?

8) Know what your desired behavioural requirements are in the workplace and have a pre-set of interview/behavioural questions to ask new prospective employees.

Need more help…that’s what we are here for. Call BespokeHR to see how we can help prepare you and your business.

Contact Paulette Kolarz

Ph: 0412 393 068

Email: paulettek@bespokehr.com.au

Website: www.bespokehr.com.au