Top Workplace Trends You’ll See In 2017

1. Continued focus on improving their candidate and employee experiences.
Companies have tended to create marketing experiences and prospects for customers to delight them, increase loyalty and grow their revenues. What we have seen over the past few years are the walls coming down between HR, marketing and customer service departments to develop experiences for both candidates and employees. This has been driven because of studies which found nearly 60% of job seekers have had a poor candidate experience and 72% of them have shared their experience on an online employer review site such as Glassdoor.com. When employers don’t notify candidates of their application status, they are discouraged from ever applying for another job at that company again, which limits their future talent pool. Furthermore, a bad candidate experience can turn away customers who may be your candidates, thus resulting in a loss of potential revenue. In another study, it was discovered that 83% of HR said that “employee experience” is either important or very important to their organizations success, and in order to enhance the experience, they are investing more in training (56%), improving their work space (51%) and giving more rewards (47%).

2. The blended workforce is on the rise.
In the past five years, the gig economy has become a major trend impacting the global workforce, and has created a new kind of diversity, with full-time permanent employees working side-by-side with freelancers. In addition, the top reason why outperforming employers are benefiting from the blended workforce is “more flexible teaming”. As more companies hire on-demand to solve key problems and cut costs by removing healthcare coverage, and other employee benefits, this has led to the rise in workers choosing freelance work given that, overall the benefit gaps have become increasingly smaller, making permanent contracts less appealing.

3. Annual performance reviews evolve into more continuous reviews.
One of the biggest discussions in HR circles is performance reviews, how to transform them and implement something new that serves both managers and employees. Professionals today desire instant feedback, a behaviour they’ve adopted from the instant gratification they receive on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. Younger generations are especially impatient and are unwilling to wait a whole year to learn about their strengths and areas of improvement. A whole 25% of employees feel that annual performance reviews don’t help improve their performance. The annual performance review is coming to an end on a global scale. Two of the largest companies in the world, including GE and Adobe, have already abolished their annual review process in exchange for regular feedback. Adobe, the first major company to step away from annual performance reviews, created a “Check-In” system, where expectations are set annually but feedback is given regularly, resulting in a 2% decrease in voluntary attrition. GE followed suit by creating “ Touchpoints,” where there is a daily development focusing on results and changing business demands, which has resulted in a five times increase in productivity in the past year.

4. Augmented and virtual reality revolutionize recruiting and training.
While there has been a lot of hype around new forms of reality in 2016, companies are going to take it a lot more serious in 2017 as new equipment, programs and use of cases surface. Virtual reality hardware revenue is set to reach over eight billion in the next two years and the amount of money invested will be over 400 million with 25 million users by that time. In addition, with Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus, Apple’s patent on a 3D display system and the current success of Pokémon GO’s augmented reality app, there is no doubt that 2017 will be a massive year for these technologies. Virtual and augmented reality can help close the experience gap for job seekers and allow employee training to be more engaging, less expensive and free of distractions. For instance, The British Army is already using VR in their recruitment process, General Mills has a virtual reality tour of their offices and GE implements VR at career fairs where students wear headsets to explore their oil-and-gas recovery machines.

5. The war for talent heats up as the employer and employee contract continues to evolve.
Employers have recognized that there is no lifetime employment contract. Some companies have incorporated strategies from the book “The Alliance” (Reid Hoffman & Ben Casnocha) by implementing “tours of duty” to help retain employees; with the focus on growing the organisation whilst growing the employee’s career. 76% of full-time workers are either actively looking for a job or open to new opportunities and 48% of employers are unable to fill their job vacancies because of the skills gap and high attrition rates. With all of this competition for talent, an entire 90% of employers anticipate more. This is why you will see an even greater emphasis on the employee experience in 2017, given that the gaps in pay and benefits have got smaller, potential employees are deciding whom to work for, based on corporate culture and values.

6. Organisations restructure to focus on team over individual performance.
One of the most fascinating trends, despite the rise of the gig economy, is the emphasis of teamwork regardless of employment situation, industry or politics in a company. Whilst individuals have their own career agenda, companies are now structured with teams because high performing teams will enable them to compete for the future. Nearly all (92%) of companies rate “organisational design” as their top priority and ¾ of gen Z’s and millennials say they are well prepared to work effectively in a team. Cisco was one of the first companies to embrace this trend, creating “Team Space,” a platform that delivers intelligence on how teams can work best to win together.

7. Companies get creative with their employee benefit packages and perks.
Fair compensation is most important to all age groups, genders and ethnicity’s, almost unanimously around the world. Once you get past pay, then the two most important employee benefits are healthcare coverage and work flexibility, a benefit that wasn’t mainstream a decade ago, but is today because of the sheer demands of work and our ‘always on’ society. In a recent study, we found that compared to two years ago, work flexibility is the top employee benefit (over healthcare in 2014) yet globally, only a third of companies offer it.

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