crystal ball

A REASONABLY STRONG economy, a growing labour shortage and changing demographics will make next year very interesting for employers and employees. Here are 10 trends to be on the watch for :

1. Forget about hiring your idea of the “ideal candidate”. The labour shortage in virtually all sectors means it will be increasingly difficult to hire the perfect candidate for the job. Long gone are the days when employers could have the pick of the litter from three or four well-qualified candidates that all want the job. Instead, employers will hire the person who comes closest to the definition of the ideal candidate and then “train up” that individual through internal mentoring, external coaching and formal training programs.

2. Decline in customer service. Customer service has been in a steep decline for several years and unfortunately you should expect this to continue. Apathy seems to be running at an all-time high. Not all is lost, though. Most customers will demonstrate their preferences with their wallets and those companies and individuals who display levels of respect, courtesy and compassion toward others will thrive.

3. Changing workplace demographics (baby boomers leaving the workplace) means younger people will be promoted into management positions without the experience to assume such responsibility. These new managers will face workplace situations they have never encountered before and their inexperience may lead to mistakes. On the upside, may also mean fresh ideas and new energy.

4. Workplaces will get healthier. For several years, employers have talked about the need for healthier workplaces, but did nothing about it. This is now changing. Employers are finally beginning to understand that a healthy, happy workforce actually leads to increased productivity, and more and more companies will take steps to ensure employees have access to health and wellness programs, flextime, additional vacation, better benefits and safe and comfortable workspaces.

5. More workday flexibility. The line between work and home is becoming blurred due largely to new technologies, like BlackBerrys, laptops and the 24-7 global environment we work in. The good news is that employers are r allowing employees more flexibility through the regular workday to attend to personal matters, family matters to car appointments to yoga classes. If employers give respect and trust beyond what the employment contract states, employees will reward them with loyalty and productivity. Work/life balance has become whole life balance.

6. Employers will go to extreme lengths to determine ‘fit’ before hiring. Despite the shortage of qualified candidates, employers are investing more time and resources on assessing the personal qualities of applicants prior to hiring. ‘Fit’ has always been important, ut now  it will become critical. The cost of a hiring mistake is too high and the availability of new candidates too low. For middle- to senior-level jobs, candidates should be prepared for a battery of assessments, multiple interviews and extensive references throughout the selection process.

7. Less demand for education, more demand for training. There will continue to be a move toward more job-specific training in 2008. This training, delivered primarily through community colleges, trade schools and outside consultants, is targeted exclusively at the short-term occupational needs of employers. As long as the economy remains strong and workers remain at a premium, this trend will continue.

8. Disharmony among the generations will persist. For the first time ever, there are four distinct generations working side by side: seniors, boomers, Generation X and Generation Y workers. Each of these groups holds very different views on just about everything work-related, whether it is authority, autonomy, hierarchy, conduct, dress, language or work ethic. This lack of understanding among the generations is creating a huge rift and even resentment among co-workers. Fortunately, this issue is starting to receive a lot of attention in the workplace. Harmonious relationships will emerge eventually.

9. Job dissatisfaction will continue to grow. Many more people are unhappy in their jobs than are fulfilled by them. There are people who hold well-paying, highly respected jobs, yet possess no passion for their work. Employers would be well-served if they stop blaming their employees and look honestly at themselves and ask how they contribute to this malaise. If nothing is done, the economic consequences of this trend could be staggering.

10. Too much information, not enough thought. Access to information is at an all-time high. With a few keystrokes, reams of information, on just about anything, is at our fingertips instantly. However, there’s a growing problem. That’s the inability of employees to select and apply this information. And that’s the most important part.

This article is derived from an article by Gerald Walsh.



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