Welcome to 2018!  A new year to grow your business, expand your client base and exceed your goals. Every year brings new challenges and new opportunities that every leader needs to be aware of if you want to cultivate your team and grow your business.  The top five workplace trends I want to share with you are job crafting, human connection, the retirement crisis, learning and development and social recruiting.

Starting this year strong means looking at these trends and innovations shaping the business world.  It is vital for business leaders to be aware what’s trending, so they can prepare for the changes ahead.

The top five workplace trends I want to share with you are job crafting, human connection, the retirement crisis, learning and development and social recruiting.” ~ Meridith Elliott Powell

This year will not be that much different regarding the amount of change our teams and leaders are going to face.  In fact, I believe we are living in one of the most rapidly changing times in history. To navigate these shifts, you must keep a close eye on what is trending and prepare your organizational team for the changes and opportunities ahead.

For the past few months, I have been researching a new book I am writing on workplace trends. The book, entitled Flex – Strategies to Navigate Highly Volatile, Constantly Shifting Economic Times. (a working title) To date, I have done hundreds of interviews with researchers, business leaders, strategists and CEO’s to get the inside information on what changes are coming, how these changes will impact the workplace and what leaders are doing now to position themselves for success.

While the list is compelling, I do not have the room to list all the trends in this article, so I am itemizing five of my favorites. Of all the trends I think are most important for leaders and CEOs to pay attention to and act on – is in their quest to attract and fully develop their top talent!

5 Workplace Trends and Strategies Every Leader Needs For 2018

  1. Job Crafting – with our remote workforces growing and organizations getting flattened, the opportunity for workers to move up in companies is decreasing. The lack of upward mobility is proving challenging for leaders in keeping workers for the long term. Enter Job Crafting – a new way to give employees room to grow, to be challenged, and stay engaged longer with your company.

    Job crafting is pretty much like it sounds, giving the employees some say and input into how their jobs are structured. Giving them the opportunity to play to their strengths, but also push out of their comfort zone and take on new tasks and partial roles that both challenge and interest them. To job craft, you have to learn to become comfortable with relaxing the organizational chart and be open to non-traditional and ever-changing job descriptions.
  2. Human Connection – who would have ever thought human connection would be a trend, but it is! Leaders and CEO’s are looking for more ways to create human interaction and encourage team members to build relationships and community. With Artificial Intelligence on the rise, demand for soft skills like collaboration, communication and creative problem solving is back. Companies are starting to realize that to keep their top talent, they need to engage, to coach, to listen and to allow team members to connect with one another.

    In 2018 we will see more face time for meetings and simple phone calls, more in-person meetings, and more one-on-one time between leaders and employees. Studies show human interaction increases productivity and retention – that is a trend every leader wants.
  3. Retirement Crisis – we are there, and this is the year to take action. No more casual conversation, no more maybe we can find it in the budget, now is the time to act on your leadership development and succession planning. Boomers are retiring in record numbers, and while the millennials are a large enough generation to take their place, they are not ready when it comes to their skills and knowledge.

    2018 is the year to define what positions are critical to your organization, who needs to be the future leader, and what skills and professional development do they need.
  4. L & D – the essential things in companies used to be R & D – Research and Development – now it is L & D – Learning and Development. Artificial Intelligence and Customer Demand are changing in our workplace and what we require of our employees. Low-level tasks are being replaced, and workers need to move from task driven to problem solvers. Having a workforce with well-developed problem-solving skills is a significant competitive advantage for a company.

    Cultivating a learning environment starts from the top. (source) Leaders and the appropriate departments need to understand that their employees will need training and development. Leaders will need to define what the skill requirements will be for their employees going into the future and reassess what their learning requirements will be.
  5. Social Recruiting – the most significant challenge and greatest opportunity leaders will face in 2018 is talent. How to find it, how to attract, how to develop it and how to retain them. Keeping this in front and center of your organization needs to be every CEOs priority.

Just like everything else has changed in today’s marketplace, so has how we recruit. Finding talent has gone social.  As social media continues to evolve, it appears that social recruiting will continue to be a key part of modern talent acquisition strategies.  LinkedIn, Facebook and yes even Twitter is where we will reach our future workforce, and more importantly where we will vet them, and how they will vet us.

These are challenging economic times, but I also think these are some of the best times to be in business, to be successful and to attract and keep top talent. However, you should understand the shifts, pay attention to the changes, and do what it takes to position your team to succeed no matter what this economy does.

While there is not a lot you can predict or control about this economy, these are the five top trends that should give you insight how to position your company to be a magnet for top talent. I would love to hear from you and learn what you are seeing. Send me an e-mail at meridith@meridithelliottpowell.com