2018 Workplace Predictions: Identity Politics and Increased Need for Flexibility Pose Challenges for Organizations in the New Year
Fierce Conversations identifies 5 key trends they believe will play a significant role in the workplace in the coming year
SEATTLE (December 19, 2017) – As predicted last December by Fierce Conversations, workplaces in 2017 have become microcosms of the world at large, with an increased need to address inclusion, change leadership and a heightened use of technology. The coming year will focus on some of these same themes, bringing new challenges along with opportunities for company leaders to further connect with their employees and continue to create the strongest workplace cultures possible.
As a training company, Fierce has worked with thousands globally to become expert conversationalists who save organizations time and money by knowing what to talk about, how to talk about it and why it matters for the bottom line. These trainings, along with participation in key industry events, have led to the company’s 2018 predictions, which Fierce believes will introduce a seismic shift in the way we work.
“The workplace we know today is different than it was a mere year ago, with many organizations undergoing significant shifts driven by the tumultuous world around us,” said Susan Scott, founder and CEO of Fierce Conversations. “Workplace cultures are likely to become less cohesive as politics and strong preferences take up residence in our companies. Over the next year, it will be imperative that leadership at all levels not only recognize this potentially problematic shift, but also embrace it while focusing heavily on open and honest conversations. The ability of leaders to navigate this change and the challenges it presents will be the difference between success and failure.”
This year’s predictions are as follows:
- Organizations will increase remote work options: Research has shown that employees who work remotely tend to be more productive and work longer hours, which can benefit an organization in the long run. Fierce predicts advancements in technology, along with an increase in desire from employees, will lead to more remote workers, both full and part-time. Commute time, work/life balance, reducing in-office costs and the need for flexibility regarding individual employee’s circumstances are all factors that have led to this prediction. Organizations should, when possible, be open to employee requests to work remotely and communicate clear expectations if granted, while also building accountability among their workforce. While it may not work in every case, being open to the possibility of more remote work will increase overall employee satisfaction.
- Change leadership will be incorporated into all levels of the company. In the fast-paced world we live in today, change is inevitable- from structural shifts to leadership changes to industry disruption. These can be significant transformations or several small adjustments over time. Historically, organizations have created change management teams or individuals in charge of getting a company or team through these efforts, yet data shows that 70% of change initiatives fail. In 2017, Fierce predicts a fundamental transference of expertise from a singular team to a critical skill for every leader within an organization to master.
- Identity politics will cause relational challenges in the workplace. Both at work and outside the office, the people individuals choose to surround themselves with have a big impact on their worldview. With the political climate as it stands, there has been a shift to surround oneself with only like-minded people. Fierce predicts that a key outcome for organizations who aren’t proactively addressing these issues will be less willingness to consider alternative perspectives and thus fewer ideas being shared. It will be imperative that company leaders be on the lookout for this type of behavior and take both preventative and proactive measures by providing plenty of safe opportunities for everyone to share their ideas and perspectives.
- Organizations will continue to improve the candidate-employer relationship. As the market heats up for talent across industries, ensuring those applying to work at your organization are accurately vetted and have a positive experience during the interviewing process are becoming increasingly valuable. Fierce predicts that in the new year there will be a renewed focus across organizations to improve the experience of the recruiting and hiring process for both the hiring organization and candidates by asking the right questions, understanding that the hiring process is a two-way relationship and veering away from more traditional interview styles. Organizations should continue to solicit feedback from candidates, both those they hire and those they don’t, and look for ways to continually improve their process.
- There will be greater frequency and more transparency in performance reviews. Confrontation and frequent feedback are becoming not only more accepted, but also essential within organizations. Much of this shift in delivery and frequency of feedback is being driven by the increasingly large population of Millennials in the workplace. These individuals want feedback, including critical feedback, early and often. Fierce predicts that in the new year, there will be an increased emphasis on face-to-face, ongoing feedback, both between manager and employee and between employees. If there is a conflict, company leaders can encourage those involved to discuss it directly, as the conflict occurs, rather than relying on a middleman. Training employees on how to give and receive feedback, and how to confront issues head on, will determine how successful this shift toward more transparency will be.
- There will be an increased use of blended learning.As we learn more about the different ways individuals learn and what approaches are most effective, how we train employees will continue to shift. Fierce predicts that in 2018, organizations will increase their use of various tools to deliver trainings that will include both instructors and the latest technologies. This blend is important in ensuring trainings are not only successful in the short term, but also to ensure the trainings continue to play a role throughout an employee's career. As different forms of technology are integrated into the learning process, companies will be tasked with ensuring clarity and reducing any miscommunication that may arise as a result of these technologies.
For more information, visit Fierceinc.com.
about fierce, inc.
Fierce Conversations is a training company that teaches you how to have effective conversations. Fierce has trained thousands to become expert conversationalists who save their organizations time and money by knowing what to talk about, how to talk about it and why it matters for the bottom line. Fierce programs have been successfully implemented at blue chip companies, nonprofits and educational organizations worldwide, including Capital One, Wal-Mart, CHRISTUS Health, Coca-Cola, CARE and Crate & Barrel. The company has been honored as an Inc. 500|5000 company six times, named to TrainingIndustry.com’s "Companies to Watch" list twice, and has won numerous awards for top companies to work for in the state of Washington. Learn how to have conversations that matter at Fierceinc.com.