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10 IT workplace predictions for 2016

Sharon Florentine | Jan. 21, 2016
2016 is the year of talent -- how to find it, retain it, engage it and motivate it are at the top of organizations' to-do-lists. Here, workforce management experts share their predictions for the coming year.

While flexible schedules, continued training and career progression planning have been best practices for a long time, many organizations that felt they couldn't manage to do these things are going to have to step up to the plate, she says.

3. Regulations tighten around employee self-service, mobile, and scheduling technologies

Hand-in-hand with the consumerization of workforce management technology and a focus on workers' rights is a push toward wider adoption of employee self-service, mobile and intelligent scheduling technologies that empower the worker while unburdening managers, according to the Workforce Institute. Employees will have tools to take more ownership of their schedules, while smarter technologies will support greater equity in staffing models; the growth of the freelance economy will increase the need for white collar workforce features to be added to these tools.

However, as these technologies are implemented to balance productivity, compliance and fairness, organizations should expect increased government scrutiny on how workforce management innovations are used in the workplace, Maroney says. "There are very specific issues tied to scheduling around fairness, lead time and the like, and how technology can help ensure more worker-friendly policies. For example, in retail or hospitality, avoiding having a worker close down a shop at night and then report for work to open the next morning, or figuring out transportation, or scheduling child care or dependent care around changing shifts," Maroney says. While some of these technologies are mandated and legislated, employers should consider their own investments in automation and self-service, she notes.

"If you're looking for talent, make sure that these technologies afford them trust and transparency so that your workers get flexibility around their home lives. Anything that makes it harder for them to get daycare, or to schedule healthcare appointments is going to discourage them from working for you, and that's a problem," she says.

4. Organizations invest in the next generation of leaders

Organizations that have not begun investing in their next generation of leaders will feel the sting in 2016 as the exodus of Baby Boomers continues, the Workforce Institute says. Leadership development, succession planning and training programs that tackle the skills shortage will be major themes in 2016 as an increasing number of organizations will invest more in middle management to ensure they can properly hire, coach, and motivate their millennial and Generation X employees who are moving up the ranks and, in some cases, managing workers older than themselves.

"In 2015, for the first time, millennials were the biggest portion of the workforce, but because of the recession they haven't had as much investment in training and leadership development. Now, organizations are going to be paying more attention to succession planning and leadership training. Thus far, businesses have benefitted from Boomers staying in the workforce longer, but that seems about to change," Maroney says.


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