Each year brings with it a set of workplace trends that unfold gradually, giving way to policies and best practices. Can you imagine your work-life today without flexi-work, perfectly synced technology or a diverse group of peers? Each of these was once an emerging trend, but they are non-negotiable today. This year, 2016, is considered a tipping point for many such trends, but the most important ones relate to the people at work.

Let’s explore three that are all set to disrupt the face of the workforce.

  1. Millennials moving into leadership positions: This trend began around 2014, when the Baby Boomers started embracing retirement. It’s estimated that more than 3.6 million Baby Boomers are set to retire in 2016, in the USA. This is significant, because their roles are going to be taken over by Millenials. As a result, it’s going to reduce the leadership and generation gap experienced by the workforce today. The ripple effect of this is envisioned to bring forth seismic shifts. A ‘Millenial Leadership Survey’ conducted by Virtuali, shows that this group of people defines leadership as “empowering others”. They are more poised to become authentic leaders, as opposed to the traditional or authoritarian style of the Baby Boomers. Flattened corporate hierarchies, non-monetary incentives, and purpose driven cultures are going to be the by-products of this trend. The need of the hour is to develop their leadership capabilities as well as industry expertise. This group is all about the balance!
  2. Gen Z enters the workforce: For the first time, May 2016 onwards, Generation Z (born between 1994 -2010), will make its official workplace debut. With a strong startup mentality, clear understanding of work-life effectiveness, and an unfailing sense of self and achievement, this group is emerging as the next big focus area for researchers. Also, two salient belief systems of this group are going to impact the workforce significantly – a preference for face-to-face communication, and money not being a motivator. Gen Z is also likely to strengthen the use of wearables in the workplace. This will help the industry grow by 33%, and take advantage of our 24/7 business environment, helping workers be more efficient with their time and health. The millennial leadership trend also works in favor of Gen Z, because 33% of them report being concerned about working with the Baby Boomers! So, if this is the group you want to engage, you’ve got to help them create roles which have a clear vision and meaning, while incentivizing their efforts through a culture that values freedom and flexibility.
  3. Boomerang employees: Yes, it’s exactly what you think it is – returning employees. Traditionally, organizations have been against hiring back employees who have left. Though over the last year, 76% employers have become more accepting of them. In fact, boomerang employees are now given higher priority over new job applicants, since they are skilled/trained, and are more familiar with the culture. Moreover, with retention being the top concern for managers, the boomerang trend helps reduce costs of replacement and training. These employees can also bring in valuable information from competitors. To make the most of this trend, don’t burn bridges!

As we see it, these trends are here to stay, and they are destined to craft the demography as well as innovative abilities of the workforce. We can safely call these trends omnipresent. How do you want to harvest them?

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