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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.

5. Unique benefits become a competitive advantage

The talent-first focus in 2016 will cause many organizations to rethink and retool their benefits strategies to create a competitive advantage in the war for talent, the Workforce Institute says. Since benefits will be used to attract and retain the most diverse and multigenerational workforce in history, there will be an emergence of unique benefits that target employees at different stages of their lives, from student loan repayment programs, unlimited vacation, and paid time off for hourly workers to expanded parental leave, child care support, retirement assistance, and medical benefits that help care for aging parents.

"You have to set yourself up to tailor your benefits to the needs of the employees. Things like healthcare, dependent care, paid time off -- those are just table stakes. Consider benefits tailored to your workforce, like student loan consolidation services, college scholarships for employees' children; you can't do 'one-size-fits-all' anymore with such a multi-generational workforce," she says.

6. Employers will invest further in wellness

Initiatives that power employee productivity and help control healthcare costs will be critical in 2016 as employee burnout erodes productivity and rising healthcare costs continue to chip away at the bottom line, according to Staples Advantage 2015 Workplace Index, which surveyed 2,602 employees in May 2015.

At a time when 66 percent of employees claim burnout is eroding their productivity, wellness efforts that focus on physical and mental wellness can be valuable ways to enhance employee health and productivity. Wellness initiatives also play a role in retaining top talent, as 38 percent acknowledge that burnout is a motivator for a new job search, says Neil Ringel, executive vice president, Staples Advantage.

"As the workplace continues to evolve, companies are continually challenged with recruiting and retaining top talent. It's critical for businesses to implement strategies focused on improving employees' productivity, health and happiness. While the talent crunch definitely holds true for IT companies, every organization should aim to foster a work culture that creates a collaborative, inspiring and enjoyable place for employees to work every day," Ringel says.

7. Desire for workplace flexibility will continue to drive the freelance economy

Among part-time freelancers, nearly half acknowledged they would quit their primary job to freelance full-time if they could achieve more work flexibility, the Index revealed. Nearly four in 10 employees said workplace flexibility would increase their workplace happiness, and 24 percent report flexible schedules motivate them to do their best at work. In addition, one in five employees identify the ability to have a flexible work schedule as a leading contributor to their loyalty.

"The Workplace Index revealed that work-life balance is top of mind for employees in the United States. Organizations can take a number of steps to facilitate this, such as providing flexible work options to avoid employee burnout and better motivate workers," Ringel says.


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