According to the Pew Research Center, 35% of the workforce is now made up of millennials, and more and more members of previous generations are retiring. The shrinking of the old guard is being matched by the surge of new blood. Many seasoned professionals are stepping down and taking their mentalities and methodologies with them as ambitious entrepreneurs and leaders are taking center stage, eager to explore exciting ideas and brave new concepts.
From what I’ve seen, many companies are going to have to adjust both their business models and internal practices if they want to not only stay relevant to consumers but also be attractive to the modern workforce. Remember: Even if a company has years of success under its belt and strong popularity in the market, it can eventually wither and die from within if it can’t meet the needs of today’s employees.
Throughout my career, I’ve been hiring and firing people, testing business theories and updating strategies as the trends that inspire them come and go. I always keep my eyes on what experts say is coming next so I’ll be ready for it. I can’t say for sure which workforce changes will last and which ones will fall by the wayside, nor can I tell you precisely how long until the changes occur and in what order they’ll come to pass, but I can tell you about four major workforce trends to watch out for this year.
For many, it seems that the traditional 9-to-5 workday is gradually becoming obsolete as multiple business models and connectivity tools are enabling employees to perform their duties on their own time and at their own choice of location. That’s not to say that we’ll all be working from home — there are plenty of positions that still require that people perform them both onsite and on a certain schedule in order for them to succeed — but the number of positions unbound by such restrictions is predicted to grow over the next decade. Modern employees place a high value on their work-life balance, so offering remote positions and shorter workweeks with schedules they can set for themselves is a great way to attract talent and earn their loyalty.
New Areas Of Employment
Many generations of workers have been afraid of losing their jobs to automation, and to a certain extent, they should be. From factory laborers to fast-food workers, more and more positions are slowly being replaced by robots. Unskilled labor will likely never be a secure field, but even positions requiring human insight and experience are beginning to be threatened.
It will hopefully be a while before we’re all replaced by robots, but while machines are steadily taking over many positions, new areas of employment are blooming in their place. Those with the skills to build, operate and maintain the ever-updating hardware and software will likely be in high demand, so your company may be able to benefit from quickly identifying what sort of experts you’ll need and what sort of perks you can offer them.
A Focus On Health And Wellness
Thanks to modern medicine, average life expectancy is higher than ever before, and people want to live their long lives to the fullest. The worries and woes that plagued previous generations still exist, of course — people will always worry about being healthy and enjoying their lives — and companies that don’t help to alleviate those worries may not last long. Failing to offer perks like mental health days or parental leave are surefire ways to alienate a workforce that holds such benefits in high regard.
Appealing To Employees’ Interests
Previous generations of employees often spent their entire lives working at the same company, either because they didn’t have the means to find a job elsewhere or because their positions offered them everything they needed. Many companies were thus resistant to making any changes or improvements when the status quo seemed so sufficient. This is no longer the case, as the vast variety of employment opportunities and available benefits means modern workers have more power to choose where they want to build their futures.
If companies want to appeal to the modern workforce, they may need to satisfy their employees’ interests, and many employees are very interested in building a brighter tomorrow. They are increasingly looking at their employers to help tackle issues like sustainability and social justice. As such, having a diverse workforce, using renewable energy and acting in an environmentally conscious way are all fantastic means of not only fostering employee pride but also helping to make the world a better place.
The winds of change are coming, and if you don’t prepare yourself, you might just get blown away.