Top 10 Workplace Trends for 2014
10 workplace trends for 2014. / Credit: Diagram drawing image via Shutterstock

More flexible work environments, an increase in workplace efficiency and more reliance on Big Data are all in store for businesses in 2014, according to new research.

A recent poll of nearly 8,000 industrial-organizational (I-O) psychologists by the The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) uncovered the top 10 workplace trends for 2014. I-O psychologists study workplace issues of critical relevance to business, including talent management, coaching, assessment, selection, training, organizational development, performance and work-life balance.

They expect to see the following workplace trends in 2014:

  1. Big Data: Big data will continue to make its presence felt, but more emphasis will be placed on finding practical, meaningful results. Too much time has been wasted mining large data sets and finding significant but impractical results. I-O psychologists can help organizations understand the value of their Big Data and apply the appropriate interpretations to drive meaningful business decisions. [Most (and Least) Stressful Jobs for 2014 ]
     
  2. Increased efficiency: "Working faster and better with less" has become the mantra of many organizations. What can organizations do to enable employees to deliver great results when they have fewer resources available? I-O psychologists are developing valid measurements to determine at what point resource limitations start having a negative impact on the quality, performance and bottom line of the organization.
     
  3. The talent question: How do organizations find rare or unique talent? In many occupations, specialized skills are becoming increasingly important for organizational success, yet fewer and fewer people possess them. Once the needed talent is found, how do you attract these people to your organization and keep them there? Can talent be developed and, if so, how? What developmental experiences are needed to grow such talent?
     
  4. New ways to test: Testing on small-screen devices, such as smartphones and tablets, will become more common. Phrases like "assessment on the go" and "mobile assessment" will become part of daily conversation as organizations learn to leverage technology when assessing prospective and current employees' skills. I-O psychologists will need to design assessments that are valid and reliably measure skills, regardless of how, where and when these assessments are delivered.
     
  5. Gamification: Gamification, the application of game playing elements to non-game environments like the workplace, of more HR processes and workplace experiences — such as selection, employee development and training — will continue to grow as organizations think about ways to engage their employees, assess skills and attract talent. In addition, utilizing point systems, badges, leaderboards and other competitive tactics to encourage desirable behaviors — such as employee health and wellness, training and development, and performance — is likely to increase. Can gamification of workspaces and the work itself be far behind?
     
  6. Integration of technology in the workplace: From scanning social media to performance tracking and monitoring software, the use of technology in the management of human resources will continue to grow. The question is, how can businesses integrate technology without taking the "human" out of human resources?
     
  7. Work-life balance: Because of social media, smartphones and telework, the lines between personal and professional lives will continue to blur. For example, a person's social media posts can affect their job, and employees often stay connected to work even when they leave their office. Work-life integration issues, including the debate between offering flex work and having face time, are becoming increasingly important for organizations. How do organizations maximize performance in a world with fewer boundaries between work and life?
     
  8. Social media: Organizations will increasingly use social networking sites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, to screen employees and make other employment-related decisions. This is an intriguing area for I-O psychologists, as the legal ramifications for using social networking sites in this way are still largely unknown.
     
  9. Telework: Increasingly, work is becoming a thing you do, rather than a place you go, as more people are working remotely from their homes or satellite locations. How do organizations help their employees manage themselves and their work in an increasingly dynamic, virtual workplace? How do organizations maintain high levels of productivity and employee engagement? I-O psychologists are working to help ensure telework remains productive.
     
  10. Alternatives to full-time: SIOP members predict that organizations will continue to see more people working part-time or as consultants, temporary workers or contractors. Beyond 2014, there may be an increase in "contingent labor" rather than full-time work. How will this impact the working experience and change an organization's culture? I-O psychologists are studying the implications for hiring, promotion, training and talent management.