By: Leslie Stevens-Huffman
Many of the trends that will impact engineering firms in 2016 have been underway for some time, but they will become more influential and significant this year. The shifting tides could alter the way you work, the benefits you offer, and even who you hire.
Here’s a look at the trends that are shaping the modern workplace and workforce.
Trending Up: Contractors, Freelancers and Consultants
Trending Down: Regular Employees
Some 40 percent of the U.S. workforce is now made up of contingent workers and more and more companies expect to increase their use of flexible staffing to meet their future talent needs. Given the growing reliance on contingent workers, planning is paramount. Companies need a proactive strategy and committed staffing partners to effectively handle hiring, onboarding and motivation, and to maximize their investment in a flexible workforce.
Trending Up: Boomerang Employees
Trending Down: No Rehire Policies
Some 48 percent of companies used to have a policy against rehiring former employees, but now 76 percent are not only accepting “boomerang workers,” they’re actively courting them. Companies have created email and social media groups so their former employees can stay connected as job hopping becomes more acceptable. Employers are also recognizing the benefits of hiring workers who can hit the ground running because they’re familiar with the company’s culture, policies and practices.
Trending Up: Generation Z
Trending Down: Baby Boomers
As the number of Baby Boomers in the workplace continues to dwindle, Millennials will be moving into leadership roles and tailoring corporate cultures toward their more independent values (many Millennials have a side business). And get ready for more change, because members of Generation Z will begin entering the workplace this spring.
On the positive side, Gen Zers (who were born between 1990 and 1999) are generally conscientious, hard-working and entrepreneurial and seem to be more interested in face-to-face communication than their Gen X predecessors. Plus, Gen Z has a stronger desire for managers to listen to their ideas and value their opinions – compared to previous generations.
On the downside, Gen Z employees may lack the soft skills needed for a professional career according to Bruce Tulgan, author of “Bridging the Soft Skills Gap: Teaching the Missing Basics to Today’s Young Talent.”
Trending Up: Transformational Leadership
Trending Down: Top Down Management
Hierarchical structures, annual performance reviews/ratings and tenure-based promotions are going the way of the eight-track tape player. Todays’ leaders must be inspirational, compassionate and collaborative to be successful.
A transformational style inspires shared vision and employee engagement, and reduces turnover by increasing the bond between employees and managers. According to researchers, 74 percent of employees who work for compassionate leaders say they are unlikely to leave their current organization in the next five years. Now that’s a trend that every engineering manager can get behind!
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