6 Noteworthy Trends to Watch If Careers & Work Life Balance Resonate with Your Readers

Detroit, Michigan – As we enter 2017, workplace trends are emerging that will have significant ramifications for employers and job seekers alike.

A key theme is employee demand for a more flexible working environment that will allow greater latitude for a “work/life balance”.  Employers wishing to attract – and retain – new talent will need to be mindful of this general trend, as well as the need to utilize newer, non-traditional tools such as instant messaging, people analytics, etc.  Another key trend: reference checks will be vetted differently than in the past, with supervisory references gaining increasing prominence.

Some specific trends we expect to see for 2017 include:

  1. Workplace well-being becomes critical for attracting new talent. While compensation pay has traditionally been a leading prerequisite for all job seekers, a desire for workplace flexibility has risen dramatically in importance. Yet, it is estimated that only a third of global corporations offer such flexibility. Of those that do offer at least some degree of workplace flexibility, many are not promoting this benefit to job seekers who increasingly spend more time researching companies before applying for new employment.

This suggests a considerable opportunity for companies to not only increase their degree of workplace flexibility, but to market this benefit more aggressively to prospective new employees.

There are several components to overall work flex, which include:

  • Working from the home, facilitated using new technological tools
  • Elimination of strict office hours
  • Adoption of “casual days” with reduced formal business attire

2. New Internal Communications Tools Replace Email.  As highly tech-savvy employees enter the marketplace, businesses will utilize more efficient internal communication tools such as text messaging, live chat and instant messaging, which will increasingly replace traditional emails.

3. Blended Workplaces Become Increasingly Predominant. The use of blended workforces, where freelance workers team up with full-time employees on project collaboration, is on the rise. An estimated 40% of workforces will be composed of freelancers in the next few years, reducing corporate benefits/health care costs. By necessity, these freelancers will need to interact more frequently with full-time employees than previously.

4. The Reference Checking Process Takes an Unconventional Turn.  A significant change in the reference checking process is that employers are more likely to call a job seeker’s former supervisors, rather than follow the traditional route of contacting Human Resources.  This is because employers have concluded that former supervisors tend to be far more talkative about previous employees than Human Resources – and a talkative, knowledgeable reference is exactly what they seek.

Related to this, a 2014 survey by the Workplace Bullying Institute (workplacebullying.org) identified 27% of responders as having current or past direct experience with abusive conduct at work.  Bosses constituted the majority of bullies. (http://www.workplacebullying.org/wbiresearch/wbi-2014-us-survey/)

5.  References Become a Powerful Extension of a Job Seeker’s Resume. A strong resume is only part of the employment equation. Employers look to references to provide critical employment information, and a wise job seeker should treat their references as a powerful extension of their resume.  References should be chosen careful, and job seekers should have a cultivated list of references readily available (in a similar format/font as their resume) to be given to prospective employers.  See a modern reference list here: https://www.allisontaylor.com/sample-employment-reference-list.asp

6. Virtual reality tools revolutionize recruiting and training.  Revenue from virtual reality hardware is projected to reach over eight billion (2014-2018). It is likely that employees experiencing this technology outside of work will ultimately desire similar technological tools at the office. Some companies such as General Mills already utilize a virtual reality tour of their offices as a tool to showcase the company to prospective employees at corporate job fairs.

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