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2015 Employee Engagement Trends Part 2: The Workplace

/ 12.11.14

In the past few years, we've seen the traditional workplace undergo some drastic changes. Factors like continued economic recovery, a boom of Millennial talent, and an influx of available jobs have been changing the way people work---and forcing our workplaces to change with them. To get a better idea of what 2015 had in store for the workplace, we asked HR experts and thought leaders to share what they see coming down the pipe. Read their predictions!

Change to Organizational Structure

matt charney“I think we're going to see more geographically dispersed teams, as well as a rise in diverse project-based (including full-time employees, outside consultants, contractor, outsourced/offshored workers, etc.) teams instead of work groups whose roles involve recurring responsibilities. This is already happening, and it means that traditional hierarchies are being replaced by meritocracies, corporate culture is becoming secondary to business culture and market norms. Because of this, engagement can no longer be limited to one group, department, or location of employees. Instead, engagement initiatives will need to be more inclusive and recognize that who we work and where we work are changing how we work -- and how employers need to communicate and intermediate to make sure that work gets done.”

Matt Charney

Snark Attack | Recruiting Daily, LLC


“Organizations need to be flatter, more transparent, more innovative, and embrace a digital mindset. It’s not about pandering to Millennials—it’s about understanding and embracing this generation's ability to quickly learn from their networks, to experiment with any task until it succeeds, and to have and share information freely in order to do more.


maddie grantWe’re in a transition period and seeing cracks begin to form in our traditional, hierarchal systems. But they've been around for so long that they won't break easily. Organizations must make a change to become flatter, faster, and more digital one step at a time. The influx of Millennials into management positions in the next few years will provide them the platform to change things for the better; but even as young entrants to the workforce, we can get clues from them as to better ways of working now.”

Maddie Grant

Culture that Works LLC | Social Fish


"In 2015, companies will operate at a greater velocity. Years of austerity have taught bubret starrsinesses how to operate in lean environments - low waste, high efficiency. Organizations are flatter now. They have less management waste and more workers contribute directly to the customer value chain. In 2015, companies will increases throughput and velocity by adding resources. But the way we add resources will be different. We will not bulk up in management. Rather, companies will be better prepared to add value-chain employees and contingent workers to the mix and have them show immediate results. Increasingly, workers will set the agenda for companies rather than a management class tasked with planning and oversight. The best companies in the world will have low management-to-worker ratios and will be able to expand and contract based on market opportunities and conditions. Innovative HCM software has already accounted for this new reality in their product roadmaps. More contingent labor. More value-chain employees. Less management overhead. Less operational overhead."

Bret Starr

The Starr Conspiracy


Increase in Employee Independence and Empowerment

“I think autonomy, empowerment, and flexibility will continue to transform the workplace. MEmail-Signature-Darrenost employees demand this, and many organizations recognize this need. But the challenging part for talent managers will be figuring out how to effectively apply flexibility for the awesome performers and not so awesome performers.”

Darren Noble

Quantum Workplace


"Organizations are starting to hire people for a specific amount of time, in which the employee both gives and receives learning. This gives employees a power they'd never had before, resulting in a more engaged and fluid workforce that knows how to think about what they want from their employer and what they can give back to the organization (what Reid Hoffman termed "tours of duty"). After this process, several innovative companies are letting employees self-manage in task forces, pods or "circles" to enable greater innovation and speed to market."

Maddie Grant

Culture that Works LLC | Social Fish


Increase in HR Involvement

“One of the big changes I expect (and hope) john whitakerto see in 2015 is HR's increased involvement in regards to change management, more specifically, during mergers and acquisitions. Communication plans, integration processes, culture audits -- these are sometimes owned by PMO’s within the organization, to the detriment of the people actually impacted."

John "Whit" Whitaker

HR Hardball | Fistful of Talent


“In today’s business world, new sharlyn lauby advancements, practices, and technologies are being introduced all the time. Organizations want to take advantage of these new tools but are being held back by the unknown (i.e. we don’t have a policy or we don’t know the liability). Workplaces are advancing so quickly that the old idea of creating policy is going to be left behind. Instead, organizations need more involvement from HR to develop high-level guidelines that apply in a variety of situations. So, instead of an Internet policy and a social media policy and a wearables policy, there will be one set of guidelines. Employees will be held accountable for following the spirit of the policy.”

Sharlyn Lauby

HR Bartender | ITM Group | Mashable


jessica miller-merrell“It's time for organizations to leave behind practices that are elitist, that have no intention of bridging HR with the rest of the organization. HR needs to be demonstrating its importance to the organization through education and conversation. In 2015, HR reps need to get more involved and focus on communicating their value to the organization and its people."

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Blogging4Jobs | Xceptional HR


"There will continue to be more discussion and increased rhetoric about employeeEmail-Signature-Jason engagement in 2015 within Human Resources. And the need for a more consistent definition of employee engagement will become more clear. Because of the near buzzword status of the term “employee engagement,” everyone from employee recognition vendors to wellness software platforms are declaring themselves as being in the employee engagement business. The more this happens, the less clear it will become exactly what engagement means and how it impacts an organization’s success. HR leaders will recognize the need to define the organization's objectives and goals it aims to accomplish, and then define engagement in that context."

Jason Lauritsen

Quantum Workplace


Managing an Employee's Engagement Will
Become More Difficult

“Down the road, employees may paul heberthave more than one W-2 job. Managing that relationship and engagement will become even more problematic. Furthermore, I think the pendulum will swing back to more 1950's employer-employee relationship style (defined benefit plans, retirement, etc.) to create distinction in the marketplace. This idea might seem far-fetched, but history does have a record of repeating itself.”

Paul Hebert

symbolist | Fistful of Talent


"Asking people to score their “mood” daily or weekly is an idea getting way too much attention today. Email-Signature-GregInterest will climb in 2015. Then a few brave companies will implement it and realize just how bad the idea is. Moods change by the hour. And they’re impacted by too many things that managers and employers can’t influence (think weather or traffic). The problem with employee feedback data is that employers aren’t taking enough action with the data. Changing from an annual, thorough survey to a weekly mood survey only multiplies that problem by 52. Managers need data on employee perceptions of strategy and manager effectiveness and trust and workplace environment. Managers don’t need data about a peer being in a bad mood because he was on hold for 20 minutes with Sprint over the lunch hour. If we transition our strategy to measuring daily or weekly "moods," the workplace and our employees' engagement will take a hit."

Greg Harris

Quantum Workplace


steve smith“One of the biggest issues I see impacting employee engagement generally is the concept of the ‘overwhelmed employee.’ There are just limits to how much input a human being can process, and I think we are getting close to that point in the workplace. I expect the multitude of demands on employees' time and attention will continue to present an engagement problem. I believe the real solution to that overload will be machine-learning technologies that can make things simpler and easier for employees by analyzing information and telling them ‘do this.’ But I think that reality isn’t imminent."

Steve Smith

The Starr Conspiracy | HR Examiner


This is the second post of the 2015 Employee Engagement Trends Series. Click below to read the rest of the series:

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