A couple of weeks ago we looked at some of the trends that we believe will impact labor and management in 2018. This time we want to consider trends that will impact the workplace in general.
Employment will increase in 2018, but at a slow rate.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics believes the unemployment rate will fall from 4.3% in 2017 to 4.2% in 2018. They believe the fastest growing jobs will be in healthcare, personal care, social assistance and construction.
Other job areas which were promised increases by politicians, such as mining and most manufacturing, will see no significant increases in 2018. The overall growth could be threatened by other economic factors including the markets and the international economies.
One factor that contributes to declining unemployment is the decline in the growth rate of the overall labor force. As more older workers leave the workforce, fewer new employees are available to take their place. This will also lead to:
Employers will have more difficulty in finding new employees. Forbes reports there are currently 6.2 million unfilled job openings in America, up from 5.6 million during the same time in 2016. The resulting shrinking talent pool will make it more difficult (and competitive) to recruit new employees. As the population ages and jobs become ever more specialized, the competition for talent will be more fierce. Employers will have to place more importance on their existing workers. As a result:
Companies focus on upskilling and retraining current workers. Retaining current employees will have increasing importance, but along with this will be the need for more retraining. Admarco reports the half life of a learned skill is only five years. This means that much of what you learned 10 years ago is obsolete and half of what you learned 5 years ago is irrelevant.
Even our most skilled employees will need retraining opportunities. This can also result in increased employee satisfaction as they learn to implement new skills and perceive their value to their organizations increasing. It will also provide real opportunities for:
Leaders must encourage more human interaction. No matter how good the equipment or sophisticated the automation, there is no substitute for people. Last blog, we pointed out the need for more worker training, but this needs to go beyond the so-called “hard training” skills.
In the Columbus Dispatch article we cited last time, Jeff Spain, supervisor of workforce innovation at Columbus State Community College noted, “We have warehouses that are heavily automated, where the human component has been removed. That doesn’t take away the need for a human workforce.”
Spain points out training must also focus on human interaction and communications. He reported at a recent national conference, “Advanced communication was the watchword people were saying. Workers have the technology, but they don’t have the inter-connectivity of people.”
These soft-skills are essential to effective problem-solving and workplace improvement, yet they are often ignored when planning training. It may be assumed that people will communicate effectively, but this is generally not the case. They need help, support, and training.
There will be increased opportunities for real employee engagement. We have detailed the benefits of engaging employees in many of our blogs, yet many employers have been unable to attain the benefits that result from involvement. We believe employers will place a renewed emphasis on engagement as they realize the potential for financial gains that will result. The decrease in recruitment costs combined with more skilled employees ready to utilize new methods and technology will pay benefits, but only if there is a real commitment to involving employees in all facets of the workplace. This commitment has often been lacking, resulting in a failure to derive the full benefits employee engagement can present.
If your organization is interested in building or enhancing their employee engagement process, contact CALMC. Our experiences have helped many organizations achieve their engagement goals and realize the benefits of listening to the employee voice in their workplaces.
We would like to hear your thoughts about trends or issues affecting your workplace or organizations. Please comment on this site or contact us and let us hear your ideas.