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Biggest Employee Relations Trends of 2019

New workplace challenges arise every year.  A lot of technological advancements have made their ways in the workplace since 2017 including microchips in employees and allocating them to expense health and wellness programs.  2019, however is bound to bring a lot more changes.  From the daunting task of welcoming a new generation into the workforce to meticulously understanding how your company collects data about the employees, these are the 3 biggest workplace trends that you’ll see as we move into 2019:

  1. Meeting the expectations of Generation z workers while accommodating senior employees

A new generation of workers 23 years old and younger are rapidly entering the workforce.  By 2020, they’re expected to make up to 38 percent of the global workforce and companies need to adapt their employee relations strategies to ensure they attract and retain such talent.  In addition to a personal human touch, these digital enthusiasts are thirsty for digital use of technology in the workplace, considering they’re digital natives of our internet-centric society.

Even for those who are not members of Gen Z, there are bound to be software strategies, and training trickling into your workplace because if a particular organization doesn’t offer them, Gen Z workers will make it their priority to find one that does.  On the other hand, as their technological competence continue to grow, many will experience a decrease in soft skills, especially in terms of written communication.  Awareness regarding the idiosyncrasies of generation Z workers will be imperative in integrating them into an existing team.  Managers can help their generation Z counterparts’ transition into the workforce by listening to their ideas and being transparent with them from day one in order to ensure the workplace is the right fit for everyone.

As workers in developed nations are staying in the workforce longer, a similar emphasis to that placed on younger employees is being placed on workers across different generations.  In addition to focusing on younger employees joining the workforce, a similar emphasis is being put on shifting careers across all generations.  In addition to actual organizations, governments will find it necessary to formulate plans that will allow them to provide businesses and educational institutions support older workers with initiatives such as increased retirement and medical supports.

  1. Be Better Than The Rest. Or Else.

Societal expectations and employee demands are becoming the norms by which companies must operate, and they must be willing and ready to respond to these new demands. Amazon launching livable wage initiatives setting minimum wage targets of $15/hour following public outcry is a perfect example. Employees’ ethical concerns also have an increasing presence in strategy.  Larger companies are increasingly working to align their mission, vision, and values with those of their employees. However, 56 percent of organizations don’t have employee relations strategies as a priority.  If your company doesn’t have any employee relations programs in place, consider suggesting a potential initiative. Employee Relations focus comes in many forms including providing attractive wages, supporting employee development initiatives, facilitating engagement programs, round-table discussions, and/ or volunteering.

       3. All About Your Numbers

Employee Relations data has been a hot-button issue as organizations use it as a basis for their decisions, but companies are now starting to gather more employee data for similar purposes. Historically, such data has been used to inform people strategies such as recruitment, retention, performance management and training. With more tech and social media in the workplace, employers have a greater ability to collect and evaluate employee behaviors. Larger companies are analyzing communication patterns on internal messaging systems, tracking telecommuters, and giving their employees’ health trackers to collect health data.

Health tracking in particular is expected to see significant growth as smart watches with health tracking functionality like are now becoming more popular in employee wellness plans. It is anticipated that by 2021, 92 percent of wellness plans in the U.S. will include health trackers.

As an employer it is advisable to be aware of what data you are collecting from your employees and what it’s been used for.  Confidentiality and corporate responsibility is imperative, as is maintaining a high level of transparency in terms of what the data is used for.  As the workplace continues to evolve, it increasingly falls on employee relations professionals to be the advocates and educators of the workforce.  It’s important for everyone involved to be knowledgeable regarding data collection, just as they would their benefits and wages.  Understanding the future of your workplace and how you fit in it will be beneficial as we move into 2019.

For more information about our Employee Relations services please visit DFRIHR.com