Some surprising trends will impact the workplace in 2019. Are you ready?
Business writer Jena McGregor suggests some issues that HR managers and other leaders should keep on their radar screen moving into the new year. While some are obvious, she says, such as diversity, flexibility, and gender equity, other less talked-about concerns will require attention as well.
Among McGregor’s predictions:
· Family leave for non-parents will become more common. While parental leave has become increasingly popular, more companies likely will offer time off for employees to care for an aging parent or ill relative or to grieve after the death of a family member. This is a benefit born out of need, as growing numbers of employees are primary caregivers for parents, grandchildren, and other relatives. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act enables employees to take up to 12 weeks off to care for an ill family member, but it only guarantees unpaid leave.
· Wage gaps between old and new workers may create tensions. In a tight labor market, workers often see changing jobs (and employers) as a way to increase their income. Employers will have to find ways to pay competitively for the employees they have while offering salaries that are attractive for new workers.
· Workers will demand that employers do more to protect personal data. Healthcare employers must prioritize privacy protections, not only for patients but for their employees as well. Fortunately, there is help, such as cybersecurity guidance from the government. Expect employees to be more knowledgeable and savvy about privacy. For example, they may expect employers to grant them access to the information that companies have about them.
· While the open office design is likely here to stay, expect to “tweak” it to keep employees happy. While nurses and other healthcare staff are used to working on the move and in open spaces, employees will increasing want some private space to have confidential conversations or work with sensitive information on the laptop or tablet. Toward this end, privacy pods—resembling the old-fashioned phone booth—are gaining popularity in some offices.
· Email will continue its decline as the primary form of company communication. Expect messaging tools such as Slack and meeting/communication options such as Zoom to become more popular.
More than ever, “we’ve always done it this way” will be less acceptable as an excuse not to innovate or make changes. Think ahead and be creative for a more productive 2019.