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The Herman Trend Alert: 2019 Workforce-Workplace Forecast

2019 is going to be even more challenging for employers than 2018. Employers will need to be even more creative and innovative to hire the talent they need.

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Herman Trend Alerts are written by Joyce Gioia, a strategic business futurist, Certified Management Consultant, author, and professional speaker. Archived editions are posted at http://www.hermangroup.com/archive.html

Many employees now value flexibility most in the workplace. Photo credit: © iStock.com/Rawpixel Ltd.

Every year, The Herman Group issues its annual forecast. This Herman Trend Alert is intended to provide employers with insights about what to expect in the coming years, so that they may position themselves for success.

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2019 is going to be even more challenging for employers than 2018. The continuing labor shortages will present employers with more perplexing issues. Employers will need to be even more creative and innovative to hire the talent they need. We expect to see a number of developments in the way employers recruit and retain talent.

  1. Focus on the criticalrole of the “employee experience,” especially for candidates. 

We have deliberately made this trend first because it is the most important. From the first exposure to the organization to the last day of employee tenure, experiences are “everything” or in the words of author Joyce Gioia: “Experience Rules.” (In fact, that is the title of her new book. Indie Books, 2019) That means that each and every experience afforded to prospective or current associates must be designed to be as close to optimal as possible – whether augmented with technology or not.

  1. One size does not fit all. 

When it comes to these experiences, value propositions and benefits, one size does not fit all. What works depends on the values and attitudes of the particular employee. This fact will present a challenge for employers, but not an insurmountable one.

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  1. It’s more important than ever to be the “Employer of Choice.” 

With worker shortages in almost every field and very low unemployment rates, especially throughout the U.S., employers not recognized as good places to work will not only lose out on top talent but also may not be able to find any people to fill their vacant positions. Employers of Choice offer employee-centered environments in which workers feel valued and fulfilled. (For more information about being recognized as an Employer of Choice, click here.)

  1. Recruiting from within will grow. 

Employers are finally using technology to keep track of people’s talents and abilities and identify the talent that they need moving into the future. Internal recruiting has several benefits: first, employers won’t lose valuable intellectual capital; second, it helps in the front-line recruiting process when people can see the career-pathing available; and third, it means a continuity of internal and external customer service.

  1. More work will be done remotely. 

Flex-time and flex-place are among the most desired benefits for employees. Increasing labor shortages will mean increasing demand for these types of flexibility.

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  1. New initiatives to teach skills to candidates.

In a new version of “grow-your-own,” some employers are identifying candidates with interests in particular career paths but lacking the requisite core skills. These companies are allowing would-be employees to learn these skills prior to joining the firm. By the time they qualify to be members of the team, these workers have already demonstrated the valuable skills of tenacity and focus.

  1. Due to lack of full-time skilled workers, companies will continue to use contingent workers. 

Without the ability to fill positions with qualified staff, companies will find that they must hire part-time, temporary, seasonal or contract workers to fill in the gaps. These shortages also will translate into increased opportunities for older workers who want or need to keep working.

  1. Advancing technology will support even more Big Data in HR. 

Big Data will be harnessed to find economies everywhere in the enterprise. However, the HR function will be engineered with data to a degree we have never seen before.

  1. AI will continue to support more HR functions. 

No one is excited about interacting with software or machines – if they realize it. However, some AI has become so good that we do not even realize we are communicating with a machine. When that level is achieved, people – both internal and external to the organization will approve. Whether we are making appointments or just getting information, we appreciate that we do not have to wait for a person to be available. At the same time, when we do need to speak with a human, we definitely do not appreciate the endless loops of decision trees that prevent us from resolving issues.

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  1. Sexual harassment claims will continue to grow. 

Not surprisingly, the Me-Too Movement emboldened women to file sexual harassment claims – many of which were long overdue. We believe the new confidence employees feel will inform a new normal. Women employees will no longer tolerate any level of sexual harassment.

  1. Smart employers will adopt a holistic focus on the whole employee.

They will understand it is to their benefit to take care of emotional, physical, professional and financial needs. It is when they demonstrate this comprehensive caring that employees truly feel taken care of. All kinds of wellness programs, including mobile aps like PTX Therapy and Best Money Moves will help employers to address “the whole employee.”

In 2019, winning organizations are the ones able to capitalize on these trends and use them to successfully compete. These enlightened organizations will invest in their people and processes, as well as technology to win the war for talent.

Special thanks to Debby Carreau and Entrepreneur.com, Trish McFarlane, Ben Eubanks, and George LaRoque, writing for the HR Federation, and the Young Entrepreneur Council, writing for Inc. Magazine.

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