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10 Workplace Trends You'll See in the Future

10 Workplace Trends You'll See in the Future
Credit: Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock

More reliance on Big Data, an increased use of technology to change the way work is done and a greater focus on employee health are among the trends industrial-organizational psychologists predict will take center stage in 2016, new research finds.

Industrial-organizational psychologists study workplace issues of relevance to business, including talent management, coaching, assessment, selection, training, organizational development, performance and work–life balance.

Each year, the Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology (SIOP) surveys its members to determine what organizations should expect in the coming year. This year, the 10 workplace trends they predict will garner the most attention are:

  1. Big Data: Back in the top spot for the second time in the past three years is a renewed focus on leveraging and maximize Big Data. Organizations will continue to figure out how they can apply the correct analytics to make better business decisions. The SIOP believes industrial-organizational psychologists should be working with companies to better understand what information can be unlocked from their Big Data information, what questions to ask and what hypotheses can be tested. Businesses need to consider how they best apply the proper analysis and provide proper interpretations to drive meaningful decisions.
  2. Technology changes: Businesses need to pay close attention in 2016 to how trends in technology are changing the way work is done. Specifically, SIOP members believe organizations need to look at what more reliance on technology and automation means for their business and their employee staffing levels. Will their workers need different skills in the future and how will that effect their hiring and training strategies?
  3. Virtual teams: As an increased number of employees work remotely, SIOP members predict organizations will need to focus more on how they help their employees manage themselves and their work. They will also need to figure out how to maintain high levels of productivity and employee engagement when not everyone is working in the same location.
  4. Performance reviews: The days of employee performance reviews being held once or twice a year are quickly falling by the wayside. Many organizations are moving to a structure focused on ongoing conversations between a managers and employees that encourages development. SIOP members think in 2016 this trend will continue and that more organization will keep moving away from forced review schedules and ranking systems to methods focused on continuous improvement that better foster the development of employees.
  5. Employee Engagement: With more and more research showing the benefits of engaged employees, including that they are likely to do more than is expected of them, help their co-workers and drive innovations within their company, SIOP members predict businesses will have a renewed interest in figuring out new and improved ways to increase their employee engagement levels.
  6. Health and wellness: With studies showing healthy and happy employees are more productive than those who are not, organizations will focus more in 2016 on how they can provide the right perks and incentives to encourage healthy behaviors. SIOP members believe improving employees' mental and physical health, both in the workplace and at home, can only help organizations.
  7. Business agility and flexibility: More and more organizations are realizing the importance of being agile and having business processes that are flexible in order to quickly respond to changing market and customer demands. SIOP members think businesses will increase the attention being paid to their willingness to take risks and learn from their mistakes in order for innovation to become a natural part of their organization.
  8. Work-life balance: Technology is rapidly blurring the lines between personal and professional lives. SIOP members predict businesses will keep a close eye on how a healthy work-life balance means something to different to each employee. This is especially true for employees of different generations. As they instill various efforts to boost work-life balance, businesses will see how some methods are more effective for some than others.
  9. Diverse workforces: As more businesses recognize the importance of having a diverse workforce, they will spend more time filling their organization with employees who value and appreciate diversity. The SIOP believes industrial-organizational psychologists should be working with more businesses to implement strategies that result in a healthy, diverse workforce, such hiring practices that assess diverse characteristics or changing performance reviews to reward those who collaborate effectively within diverse teams.
  10. Social media: SIOP members believe that in 2016, more businesses will increase their use of social networking sites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, to recruit and investigate potential employees. However, by doing so they will have to pay close to attention to the legal ramifications of using social media when making these types of decisions. It is important that businesses balance the risks associated with using social media for employment issues.

The predictions were based on surveys of more than 700 SIOP members.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.