With 2019 finally here, both employers and job seekers are wondering what the New Year will bring for the workplace. With the next generation of people entering the workforce and professionals having longer careers than ever, there are more eyes on corporations and more expectations for employees which will greatly effect trends in the workplace. The following list breaks down these top trends that both employers and job seekers will need to know in order to stay ahead in 2019.
With the eldest of Generation Z being born in 1996, the next generation is beginning to graduate college and join the workforce. Generation Z is expected to comprise 36 percent of the global workforce by 2020. Knowing this, we can expect a shift in how employers attract and retain young talent.
There will be more emphasis on company culture, “It seems to be that this generation is first and foremost looking for the best cultural fit for them. They're looking for a company where they're not just a number, but they're somewhere they can contribute to the company” (Heather Watson). Companies that will excel with this new generation of workers are the ones who put an emphasis on company culture and have open conversations about performance and development opportunities.
Many companies also predict that Gen Z’s decisions and expectations will be based heavily on the fact that they’ve grown up in an entirely tech-driven world. These digital natives will expect their future employer to strategically use software and technology in the workplace. This is the first generation that has grown up with an altogether internet-based society.
For employers, this will also mean a new approach to training with a focus on the soft skills that Generation Z might have missed out on growing up in a digital world. This includes things like communication and feedback, “They want to come in and do a really good job; they just need skills we grew up with that they didn't,” says Watson. For those looking for employment, go into that new position already honing your soft skills so you’ll have a head start among the competition.
While companies are increasing their focus on the next generation of job seekers, just as important is the shifting career across all generations. More people across the US are reaching their 100th birthday, meaning people will have longer careers than we have ever seen.
Professionals are going to continue changing careers more frequently going into 2019, so companies should be prepared for a more dynamic workforce. Employees are expected to continue to look for careers to help their skillsets cross-functionally. As a result, companies should look into a non-linear approach to promotion across all departments, rather than limiting the path of promotion to individual departments.
With the increase in later retirements across all generations, companies should also consider reviewing the role of pensions, benefits, and physical/schedule accommodations for older and more senior employees. Japan has taken the longer work-span into consideration recently with new HR development initiatives enacted by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. This new plan enacted by Japan hopes to break the chain of poverty across all generations and plays an important role in the future of Japan’s workplace.
In 2019, job seekers will be looking for companies with a great work-life balance that will allow them to work flexibly and efficiently. Companies that achieve the perfect work-life balance this year will give their employees the time or space for personal and creative pursuits that refresh them and improve their focus while on the job.
With new technologies allowing employees to work wherever and whenever, 2019 will bring a push for workplaces that use these technologies to improve work-life balance. Remote, telecommute, and work-from-home positions will see a dramatic increase this year with new technologies and project management software allowing teams to communicate more effectively and efficiently from their own home.
However, companies without work-from-home opportunities will have nothing to worry about. The emphasis here is on employees working in a flexible and productive environment. For example, companies that jumped on the open-office trend in recent years (to increase communication and productivity) are actually hearing feedback from employees that they feel more productive when given a private space that allows them to focus on their work, so we will likely begin to see a shift away from this layout.
Employees are also expected to utilize project management and automation software to streamline their processes. With new innovations in technology and business software, we will see more companies and employees taking advantage of these new outlets to increase their efficiency and communication.
Work-life balance can most definitely be achieved in the workplace, not just by sending people out of it. Every company will be different in their approach to work-life balance. Some companies will provide a social area where employees can relax and refresh (such as an in-house café), some might allow more flexibility with scheduling or days off, and others might just need to put up a wall or two so people have their space. Whichever way your company chooses to give employees a better work-life balance this year, it’s important to let them know that you share these values with them.
2019 will bring a rising competition for companies and their corporate social responsibility. Societal expectations and employee demands are becoming guidelines by which companies are operating this year and they will need to practice corporate social responsibility in order to have a competitive advantage.
Corporate social responsibility (or CSR) is the way in which a company affects social and economic change with their beliefs, practices, and profits. This would include anything from a company’s philanthropy (such as green initiatives) to their business practices (such as employee wages, benefits, etc.). Companies that excel this year will focus on their social and economic impact, not only on their environment, but on their employees as well.
With the expanding workforce, employees are expected to continue to work harder and grow in order to stand out among the competition. This means that job seekers will be looking for companies with effective training programs and mentorships that will help broaden their knowledge and expertise. To nurture this mentality, companies are encouraged to put more time and effort into their training this year and provide mentorships to help their employees continue to grow.
Workplaces and job seekers will need to go through some drastic changes in 2019 in order to stay up to date on this year’s predicted workplace trends. Companies in 2019 will need to appeal to the new generation of workers as well as prepare for longer work/life spans. They’ll need to rethink the way they’ve modeled not only the culture of their workplace but also the environment to encourage work-life balance and practice corporate social responsibility to stay competitive. Job seekers and employees will be focused on finding a workplace with a company whose culture and environment aligns with their own ideals and will have to expand their knowledge and expertise to stay competitive in an expanding workforce.