OutLook for 2015 Business
It is almost time to embrace ‘next year’ and all that will come our way. Yes, there will always be a couple of obstacles or hurtles to get past BUT at the same time 2015 will present some great opportunities that will be both exciting and disrupting with certainly some outlooks to consider.
3 key themes to watch
Many in business may already be experiencing (or are at least very aware) of specific trends that will only become more prevalent next year. And the year after and so on and so on….. IMHO – the three strongest trends are:
- Generational Theme – Millions of boomers will be retiring and the work force will be replaced by Millenials and in just a few more years their successfor, the newly crowned Generation Z born between 1994 and 2010.
- Employee retention and corporate culture building Theme – Forming solid and effective company cultures as more employees are working remotely, roles are outsourced, contract resources step in and out of companies, a skilled talent shortage exists and padding in the form of employee loyalty is needed should the business experience a slump.
- Fast paced technology advancements (and investments) Theme – Technology tools will make the difference between dragging heels and flying. Without the investment, it will be significantly more challenging to remain highly competitive. There is a dramatic shift underway that strongly favors companies that can respond effectively and rapidly to current conditions.
Within these 3 overall themes, there are specific challenges to consider.
OUTLOOK – Concerns caused by age disparities within teams and unprepared and / or inexperienced leaders.
- More formalized training is necessary for manager skill gaps. Skills and knowledge will have to be quickly developed to motivate, direct and lead people. Approximately 79% of organizations do not currently provide their Millennials with training, coaching, mentorship or other tools to support their role in the company. Unfortunately there is a significant percentage of Millennials who are largely unprepared for their roles, particularly when thrust into positions due to the retirement or transitioning of older workers.
OUTLOOK – Succession planning must be addressed as a top priority.
- There is no doubt that succession planning is going to be a major concern for companies starting next year as more boomers start to retire. One of the ways that companies are handling succession planning is to keep some workers on the payroll while ramping up or scouting fresh talent.
OUTLOOK – Companies must start embracing transparency more next year as younger generations are demanding it.
- Leaders won’t just have to be good at inspiring and educating, they will have to be able to instill trust through honesty and transparent communication styles. Social media is continuing to push companies to be more open and for leaders to share more of their thoughts, actions and activities on a daily basis.
OUTLOOK – It is estimated that 83% of organizations do not train employees to be successful with flexwork.
- flexible start / end times, compressed work week, telecommuting, maternity vs. paternity leaves, employee vs. contractor contributions.
- Not all employees can be treated the same or have the same expectations placed on them when there are so many new working models. Finding the most efficient balance between full-time employees and growing armies of flex workers will require new thinking as social-structed teams will become mainstream. Manager training, the design of policy and best practices as well as tech tools will be mandatory for both the employee and their manager.
OUTLOOK – More effort will be made to design alliances among teammates so that corporate culture is protected.
- All the new working models will require new thinking to create a positive working experience that can be shared by all. As employees spend less time F2F with their team members and their managers, feedback loops need to be in place to create a sense of common ground. Shared values, goals, standard operating procedures, expectations of one another, KPIs and measures for success are more critical than ever.
- New roles will arise such as a “Chief of Work” to coordinate HR, IT and Real Estate Management that may overlap or be working against each as knowledge-working, laptop- or tablet-toting employers require technology services and a desk in an office may be obsolete, or at least optional.
OUTLOOK – Talent shortages put candidates, with greater expectations, in the driver’s seat.
- Cubicle farms will begin to disappear and become a relic of the past. Companies will move toward creating campus-like office buildings, making a more interesting environment and bring more of the broader culture into the space. Workspaces will be designed to be healthier, more comfortable, and more fun.
- More options for better work-life boundaries will be developed so companies can better compete for Millennials who are becoming the largest portion of the workforce and want a more casual approach to life and their careers.
OUTLOOK – Updating of company benefit programs to embrace the new reality.
- New Types of company Benefits will emerge. Some employers will offer employees the opportunity to purchase identity theft protection, pet insurance, etc. at reduced rates due to group purchasing power.
- New Vacation Time Policies will immerge that offer employees more flexibility with their time-off provided they are on track with their work and meeting their targets.
- Intentional ( or mandatory) technology breaks scheduled to address tech addiction (over work) such as “no email Fridays,” “no tech during vacation,” and organization-wide email server shutdowns (during non-business hours, maintenance periods, etc.)and other creative solutions to manage work-life balance.
OUTLOOK – The continuous job search picks up.
- Companies are going to have to deal with even more retention issues as job hopping picks up. The Conference Board of Canada’s annual compensation outlook shows employers see “moderate” base salary increases of 2.9 per cent for non-unionized staff next year and 2 per cent for unionized staff. The only guaranteed way to exceed modest salary increases will be to change jobs.
OUTLOOK – Technology expenditures to keep current with upgrades, add-ons, systems, etc.
- Migration from existing systems to more robust, agile, cloud-based, access anyway technology tools that improve employee productivity, communication and collaboration enhancing tools for everyone on the team, remote or not.
The convergence of cloud and mobile computing will promote the growth of centrally coordinated applications that can be delivered to any device and to exploit wearables
- Cost saving BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) access will be deployed with policies and specific mobile apps so employees can perform at their best. Security will move from reactive to defensive. Companies will figure out and invest in security, develop policy and overcome infrastructure obstacles that have deterred them from replacing static legacy IT platforms.
- New technologies that resemble Artificial intelligence will begin to enter and transform the workplace and take over the business equivalent of household drudgery. Human talent will be freed up for more interesting and creative work.
OUTLOOK – Cloud/client computing and analytics will take center stage and drive decision making at a fast pace
- Organizations will begin thinking, acting and building applications and infrastructure like Web giants such as Amazon, Google and Facebook.
- As the volume of data generated by embedded systems increases, and vast pools of structured and unstructured data inside and outside the enterprise are analyzed, decision making will be significantly impacted. The real value is in the answers, not the data.
“Development can help great people be even better–but if I had a dollar to spend, I’d spend 70 cents getting the right person in the door.”
~Paul Russell, American novelist, poet & short story writer
May the New Year bring us wonderful opportunities to work on together!