Millennials are now responsible for many of the changes that organizations underwent in the past years. Many of these changes were made out of pure necessity. Organizations had to stay updated with the needs and characteristics of the working generations or they wanted to create a workplace which is as close as possible to the ideal. And Millennials have a lot of ideals! We have already "threatened" you in this year's papers and presentations of a new generation making its way to our offices - Generation Z, which is expected to bring new expectations, competencies and of course, needs.
This generational mix may create confusion and uncertainty among employers and managers. In order to address these changes, we chose to present you with 3 major workplace trends in 2017.
Many of us are already working in this system! Blended workforce refers to a mix of employees, be they full-time, part-time, collaborators on projects, staff leasing or freelancers. A study made on this exact subject reveals that a majority of companies (in the US, the percentage reaches almost 90%) prefer/will prefer these sorts of collaborations as opposed to long term employment. Freelancers in particular will benefit from this openness, since the organizations will be hiring them on specific projects and will include them in their permanent teams, possibly multicultural or global teams.
Why is this type of collaboration gaining so much ground? There are numerous reasons, each much easier to understand than the other: cost efficiency with employees (health insurance, benefits, bureaucracy), flexibility on both sides, hiring experts with specific skills only when they're needed so that they can move on to the next challenge afterwards etc. The same study offers amazing statistics: in the next years, up to 40% of the workforce will be represented by freelancers. Surely enough, we can expect Western societies to reach this percentage faster than Romania, but the signs are starting to appear here as well.
Even if this type of collaboration can be perceived as more lax than others, there are clear expectations from freelancers as well. Ironically, the competencies that employers look for in collaborators are the ones freelancers most lack at the time: teamwork, written communication skills and the ability to lead geographically dispersed teams.
Thus, here are some skills we need to master as an independent worker or, looking at it differently, here's what we should pay attention to when hiring freelancers and teaming them up with our employees.
Even if they are tasks pertaining to HR, team leads or department managers, evaluations and feedback session will definitely increase in frequency. Most of the Millennials feel the need for constant feedback on each project, task or over a short period of time. Therefore, most of them think that annual evaluations bring them very little added value, since the time span and the volume of work is far too large to remember specific conducts, the performance on tasks or details that could have made a difference.
Moreover, we're so used to instant reactions and appreciation from the online social platforms and interactions with closed ones….who can wait for a whole year to hear about their strengths, improvement or growth opportunities at work?
Last but not least, frequent feedback, monitoring and appreciation sessions positively and directly influence employee motivation and task engagement. Therefore, this trend brings significant value to both employees and employers.
Regardless of the way we look at Generation Z - as a new and separate "species" or the second generation pertaining to the Millennial cohort - there is something we can be sure of: starting 2017, more and more companies will start hiring them. In contrast to Millennials, these new comers were born and raised with technology in their homes, schools and social circles. Internet connection on pocket devices, access to any information at any time as well as the need to feel permanently connected are just a few of the things that shaped this generation's workstyle. Despite having a soft spot for technology, generation Z-ers declare they prefer face to face communication (51% of respondents), especially with their managers and colleagues as opposed to written communication. Employers will feel the acute necessity of investing in soft skills for these new employees such as personal responsibility, problem solving, time management and interpersonal communication. Continuous reeducation in these skills will come in handy next to their almost born technical abilities. Therefore, the ideal workplace for them is built on well-defined norms and learning healthy conducts at the workplace with their colleagues or clients.
Given that the talent crisis will dramatically escalate in the years to come, employers will have to fight in order to keep their very best employees like never before. How do we ensure retention with this generation? We can do so by creating the ideal job. This job has a flexible timetable, employee benefits and it must be created with a long-term perspective in mind, with the clear contribution that it brings within the company, but also with the chance to experience and learn as much as possible. Just like Millennials, these successors want to be part of something meaningful, to be offered a vision that goes way past specific tasks, which will drive them.
Here are just a few of the trends and changes that will knock on our doors the moment the clock strikes 12 on New Year's Eve. Of course, these may apply differently for each industry or business model, but one thing is for sure - the Millennial cohort will keep the workplace moving and no one can be caught off guard or in denial.
This being said, we hope that 2017 will bring you the best and most profitable of changes at your workplace!
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