Technology, generational shifts in workforces and a host of internal and external marketplace events create change in the workplace for both employers and employees. While you can’t know what changes the coming year will bring, reviewing current trends and their effects will help you stay relevant, keep your job and improve your chances for a promotion.
Knowledge Base Shift
One of the key implications of change in the workplace, related to rapidly expanding technological changes, is the growing need for employees to upgrade their skills, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Employers will increasingly seek more verbal, math, organizational and interpersonal skills. With the explosion of social media usage, workers will need to understand changes in hardware, software and messaging methods. If you aren’t on LinkedIn, don’t know how to Tweet, don’t own a smartphone or aren’t familiar with Facebook, you might find your job security eroding with each subsequent year. Employees should look for community college classes or weekend seminars to improve their software skills, or buy self-help books to work on their skills at home. If you’re an employer, host in-house seminars to enhance employee training.
Employee Compensation Planning Changes
By 2020, the American workforce will have five different generations, with the generations at opposites ends of the age spectrum seeking widely varying compensation packages. Employers will need to create compensation packages that legally offer different generations what they want, including more health care and retirement benefits for older workers, and more cash and flexible hours for younger staff.
As technology changes on an almost monthly basis, companies can find themselves obsolete with little or no time to react. Even if a company’s product or services remain in demand, a company can lose significant market share if it doesn’t update the way it sells and its brand message. Workers who are expert in a certain industry or field might find themselves much less employable if their profession becomes irrelevant. Diversification will be important not only for businesses, but for employees who are tied to a narrow product or service type or one skill set. For example, a human resource generalist might want to add benefits planning, wellness programming or worker training to her skill set.
Changing Work Situations
The days of everyone coming into the office at the same time and leaving as a group are over. Many companies have employees scattered across the country, working different hours and rarely, if ever, meeting their co-workers in person. It might be more difficult for traditional workers to compete with telecommuters who are willing to take less pay in exchange for flexible hours and working from home. The increasing acceptance of flexible hours and telecommuting might make it easier for business owners to attract better workers, and for skilled workers to negotiate a better work/life balance.
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