With each new year, we face new workforce trends and initiatives with various levels of practicality. In 2018, we saw employee microchipping and limiting employee food expenses to vegetarian food. However, this past year also brought about workforce trends that employers can use to use to improve productivity, morale and output. As we launch into 2019, companies need to prepare for a new generation of workers and an increasingly mobile workforce.
Here are five biggest workforce trends coming your way in 2019 and how to prepare for them.
1. Competition for Gen Z is heating up
The oldest members of Gen Z are only 23 years old. However, experts estimate that they will represent 36 percent of the total global workforce by 2020. Being the first generation to grow up entirely in an online-centric society, Gen Z offers inherent advantages and challenges. Consequently, organizations need to adapt recruitment strategies to attract and retain these younger employees who expect sophisticated software and technology strategies.
To appeal to Gen Z, make sure that your company has a software strategy and employee training to support it. Also, focus on wellness and flexibility benefits and make sure you regularly highlight development and performance opportunities. Welcome their ideas with an open-mind and practice transparency from the very start. Furthermore, realistic and accurate job descriptions, as well as positive employer branding will also go a long way to make your company more appealing to job candidates.
2. Employee life cycle is getting shorter
Turnover increases aren’t any big secret. Businesses need to respond to lower engagement and younger employees who are more likely to leave a job within five years than stay for the long-haul. There are a couple ways you can proactively address this. Fighting to keep employees around longer could very well be a losing battle. Instead, you could shift your focus to reducing turnover costs by embracing workforce trends. Focus on cost-effective onboarding, employee training and offboarding to maximize employee output in the short-term. Some organizations are shortening the hiring process to just one interview or stopped doing interviews entirely.
However, be sure to recognize the risks of shorter employee life cycles in the context of contract work and the gig economy. As you embrace high turnover, make sure that your employees don’t feel replaceable. Contract work in low skill positions can result in underpaid workers and less job security, causing lower levels of engagement, productivity and job satisfaction.
3. Life spans are getting longer
Even as you’re focusing on younger employees and shorter employee retainment, you need to take longer total life spans into consideration. Increasingly, people with access to effective healthcare in developed countries are living to 100. Consequently, people will have longer careers that ever.
At the same time, people are changing jobs and careers more often, so organizations need to prepare for a more dynamic workforce of people who value opportunities to expand their skillsets cross-functionally. Try promoting employees horizontally through the organization rather than pushing them up the corporate ladder in their initial department. Companies also need to consider raising retirement ages when reviewing pensions and benefits, as well as physical and schedule accommodations for older employees.
4. Social responsibility is more important than ever
Increasingly, it is becoming ever clearer that doing the bare minimum in corporate social responsibility (CSR) just isn’t going to cut it. From livable wage initiatives to ethics rising in prevalence in overall strategy, companies need to be ready and willing to respond to societal expectations to stay competitive.
However, there is still a substantial gap between society’s demands and corporate responsiveness. In fact, 56 percent of companies don’t prioritize CSR. So, companies need to take action to bridge this gap. There are numerous ways to address CSR. These include livable wages, community program, and environmental protection initiatives. Ask employees about their social priorities to determine the most effective CSR route.
5. HR tech is on the rise
In 2019, employees expect good technology to facilitate job performance. And, data is more important than ever as a performance driver. As software-as-a-service (SaaS) business models become more prevalent in fast-growing companies, scaling software capabilities with organizational growth is essential. When looking at SaaS vendors or creating software in-house, make sure the systems are compatible and can share data sets to optimize value.
Furthermore, companies are increasingly using technology to appeal to potential hires. Analytics from integrated systems can vastly improve talent recruitment and employee engagement, driving productivity and strategic decision-making. SaaS allows companies to track and analyze data to optimize workforce recruiting, planning, onboarding and talent management, as well as learning and development.
This eases the administrative burdens, while providing employees more discretion in HR engagement, allowing them to concentrate on strategic initiatives.