The American workplace is constantly evolving, so it's not surprising that many people wonder where the future of work is headed. According to Gallup research there are three disruptive workplace trends that leaders in particular should focus on.
Millennials are the majority generation in the American workforce
Millennials, the generation born between the early 1980's and late 1990's, now outnumber any other generation (Generation X and Baby Boomers) in the American workforce. Like when any generation is in the majority, this changes the workforce in many ways because each generation has different skill sets, priorities, and experiences. Millennials are often credited as a group with more diversity, tech savviness, and fresh perspectives. However, this group is often also labeled as being job hoppers. Gallup's 2016 How Millennials Want to Work and Live report found that 21% of millennials switched jobs in the past year, more than three times the number of non-millennials. The same report found that only 50% of millennials strongly agree that they plan to be working at their current company over the next year. Why does this group seem to move from place to place? A large number of them aren't engaged at work (referring to a deeper emotional and behavioral connection to a job and company) and it's estimated that this type of turnover costs the American economy $30.5 billion each year. If a company is looking to hold onto their millennial workforce, it's suggested that that the company improves their professional and career development, because it is extremely important to this generation.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has arrived
By now, almost everyone has heard of Artificial Intelligence and many workers are nervous for the future. It's predicted that a significant number of jobs are in a high-risk category of being replaced by automation, specifically those held by millennials. Gallup utilized the publication The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerization by Carl Frey and Michael Osborne to determine that 37% of millennials vs. 32% of non-millennials have a high risk of their jobs being impacted. So how do leaders handle employees fearful view of the future? Planning is key; look not only at productivity and efficiency, but at how employees are impacted. Use AI to assist in improving employee engagement and help them be better. Gallup uses the example of a manufacturing company that uses programs to help employees foster data-driven behaviors; by incorporating data and analytics into their natural thoughts, they'll be more prepared for an AI-driven future.
Workforce Planning and Forecasting are becoming increasingly vital
Though millennials are the majority generation in the workplace, there is still a large amount of Baby Boomers working because they're postponing retirement; the percentage of post-retirement aged workers still in full time jobs has doubled from 4% from 2001-2001 to 9% from 2015-2016. Another demographic trend is that millennials are getting married and having children later in life and many are approaching these critical life stages. Rather than only reacting to these changes, some companies are using analytics and forecasting to predict what the future could look like. For instance, one company is predicting that there will be an increase in healthcare participation as millennials add dependents to their healthcare plans. By looking at the future, companies can try to adjust to employee's possible needs.