Workplace Trends – Pandora’s Box

Delving into workplace trends is akin to opening Pandora’s box. Once the box is opened, there is a plethora of workplace issues that emerges. Oftentimes, to the dismay of employers who have to manage them. There are existing holistic management concepts that still have not been mastered, inclusive of employee engagement, performance management, profitability of the organization and how employees factor into the equation, organizational culture, and basically, overall management of human dynamics in the workplace.
And if that is not enough, we have the emergence of new human capital issues that organizations have to manage – that nebulous term that attempts to quantify human effectiveness, processes related to managing “employees”, processes related to getting products out the door, and processes related to customer service and the customer experience. In addition to existing human dynamic issues, organizations are wrestling with the concepts of big data, the blending of baby boomers with Millennials, – Gen X, Gen Y, and now, here comes Gen Z. We are more global now. Organizations have to manage work life balance for their employees. This also includes flexible workplace options. Let’s not forget trends relative to the impact of technology on the workforce of the future and how organizations will need to prepare for this transition. And still emerging from the workplace Pandora’s Box is employee engagement, how it is understood, how it is measured, and how to implement solutions for employees to truly buy-in to the success of the organization.
As I have suggested, trends in the workplace is like opening Pandora’s Box. Trends be aware, for they can be tricky. Sometimes, trends force you to get on a wagon that may lead to nowhere. And depending upon where you want to go, trends relative to the management of “your employees” can have a negative effect.
As these workplace topics are addressed, I wanted to ensure that even amongst the holistic trends of the topic, there are some basic components and assertions that cannot be overlooked as workplace trends are analyzed and dissected, and data “tweaked” to fit the needs of an organization. These assertions include embracing the concepts of employee engagement, for it is not an outlier, but the core of what makes an organization successful.
Companies now are so focused on data and profitability that, oftentimes, they are missing many opportunities to enhance their employee engagement opportunities. And when I reference employee engagement opportunities, I am referring to the comprehensive manner in which some companies conduct business that manage and bring employees into the “fold” beyond their paycheck and benefits. This includes how they are hired, how they are oriented into the organization, how their performance is assessed, how they relate to other team members, and most importantly, the breadth of their performance – day-to-day.
“Sustained employee engagement” versus surges of “employee adrenaline” is what is important relative to bottom line results and should be included as a criterion for business success. Unfortunately, this component is hard to measure. Unfortunately, many organizations are numb to the disdain that employees may be facing as go to work each day – to face mixed messages from management, lack of support, lack of creating buy-in (engagement), or lack of a true commitment to the organizations that they support. Unfortunately, many organizations still don’t know how to bridge this gap.
Whatever works, right??? No, it should not be this way; especially as it relates to the employees of your organization. Maslow articulated it best with his “Theory of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs”. With his psychological approach, he suggested that self-actualization and psychological needs must be met before an individual can advance to other levels of his famous pyramid; suggesting that the most basic and primal of needs of the individual must be met before he can move forward to the tip of the pyramid.
After many management practices were launched, either based on Maslow’s Theory, or many other trends, organizations eventually have evolved to the management of people like a digit and a widget. Such to the point that now employees are managed as “human capital”; the morphing of an employee, no matter what level in the organization into the assimilation of turning the emotions of employees into numbers on a spreadsheet.
Ponder This:
Are employers really ready to embrace the concept of providing employees on-going performance discussions? Trends now suggest that on-going performance discussions versus the annual review will be the norm. Are your managers and supervisors up to this task? Does your organization have a good system in place to identify and “reward” high performing employees?
Are employers ready to blend the dynamics of today’s workforce? Remember we have Gen Z employees entering the workforce now bringing a new set of dynamics and expectations. It will be interesting to see how Baby Boomers, Millennials, Gen X, Gen Y, and now Gen Z employees are managed in the workplace.
Can employers integrate the trends of Big Data to ascertain the effectiveness of their workplace? This should include ensuring that organizations know what they should track, how employees fit into the equation, and how to provide on-going discussions on the effectiveness of what is being monitored or what needs to be tweaked.
Will employers really try to embrace, versus discounting or glazing over the importance the concepts of employee engagement in the workplace? The data is compiled, but are managers vulnerable enough to embrace what is being said. Should the questions asked in these surveys be re-written such that they are forthright and to the point of what employees want to say and employers need to hear.
Are employers ready to face technological changes that will affect employees. Training and budgeting for new skills training is going to be key. Although some organizations make this commitment, day-to-day business requirements rule, and there is never enough time.
Data is important. But so are people. After all of these issues are analyzed, truly engaged listening skills, empathy skills, consistency in processes, and not de-valuing the humans that you employ goes a long way to enhancing the “big data” numbers that an organization wants to reflect in their reports, see in their organizational surveys, and bottom line results. Sometimes, it is all about going back to the basics.
Here is a link to access Global Human Capital Trends 2016 is published by Deloitte University Press. Of course, Deloitte is a major player in conducting studies on human dynamics in the workplace. Their study mirrors my position of what relevant trends are taking place in today’s workplace. Their study discusses the New Organization, Organizational Design, Leadership, Culture, Engagement, Design Thinking, HR, People Analytics, Digital HR, and the Gig Economy. You will be directed to the Deloitte University Press website to access the download for this PDF. It will also be added as a link on my website.
Global Human Capital Trends 2016

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