The way you lead your employees and how they go about fulfilling their job obligations continues to rapidly evolve. What will future workforces need to be most effective? By 2025, Millennials will comprise 75% of the workforce. Leaders need to be prepared now to develop the worker of the future to increase productivity and promote business growth. For organizations to succeed, it’s imperative to understand and embrace the expectations of future workers.
1. Increase Work Flexibility
Increased flexibility means rethinking how and where work is accomplished. Allowing employees to work from home or out of a coffee shop is a trend you’ve probably already embraced. When we think about it, business deals have always transpired in more relaxed atmospheres, such as at a restaurant or on the golf course, and this will increase.
Forbes states that a flexible work environment includes allowing employees to work where and when it best suits their needs, as long as they continue to provide high quality work. Some people work better in the late afternoons, while others love to start working before the sun rises.
Granted, some businesses, such as medical and dental practices or financial institutions, need their employees working in their physical space during specific times, but even these more structured organizations can probably offer some flexibility regarding the traditional 40-hour work week. A flexible schedule could include four ten-hour days, four days with a combination of hours, or the option of coming in later and working through lunch.
2. Greater Autonomy on the Job
According to Entrepreneur, autonomy is shaping our work environment to reach peak performance. Managers can define parameters and expectations, and then give workers a wide range of freedom within those guidelines.
Another option is letting your workers choose who they work with on certain projects. This may not always be an option, but when it is, more choice can provide those who work well together opportunities to take their talents to a higher level.
3. Community Connection
HR Florida Review confirms that millennials will make up 50 percent of the workforce in 2020, and 75 percent by 2025. Millennials are not as motivated by money as they are with connecting to others and making a difference in their communities. Since this demographic will be the majority of the workforce in a few years, there are ways we can begin now to connect them to the community around them.
Start by encouraging participation for volunteer events. This interaction outside of work builds bonds between employees that contribute to a more productive work environment. Younger workers are especially interested in activities that promote and support the environment and other causes. They also want to be associated with organizations that provide opportunities, and assistance to disadvantaged groups within their local and broader communities.
4. Tech-Friendly Teams
Technology will continue to expand rapidly. This means there will be even more ways to communicate without having to work together face-to-face. However, organizations need to increasingly implement successful collaboration methods to stay productive.
One important way to embrace issues and solve problems is through the power of teams. Increasing the power of teams means we have to rethink how things have been done in the past. This can mean changing the way hierarchical reporting is done, and more effectively embracing multiple ideas.
Use technology to share information, promote collaboration, and efficiently track progress on projects. Beth Ziesenis is “Your Nerdy Best Friend” and here she shares all kinds of tech tools for teams.
5. Lifelong Learning Opportunities
The trend toward lifelong learning and continuing education will grow stronger in the future. Industry Week points out that the strongest workers in any organization are those who are involved in continuous learning throughout their careers.
Continuous learning takes many forms, and is necessary at all levels of an organization. Learning opportunities can include on the job training such as internships, coaching, or attending conferences. Many of the organizations I work with are also finding value in providing employee programs on life issues, such as how to increase your credit score, how to buy a house, or how to develop a healthier lifestyle.
Online classes, as well as more formal campus education can be offered to employees on a regular basis. To make the educational process easier on your employees, consider forming partnerships with local colleges and training associations. Many colleges welcome the opportunity to send instructors to teach off campus locations. Why have 20 employees drive across town for a class when one person can travel to them?
For organizations to succeed, it’s imperative to understand and embrace the expectations of future workers. When employees are allowed flexibility, autonomy, opportunities to work as a team, community connections, and lifelong learning on the job, there is a greater sense of job satisfaction. This ultimately leads to greater productivity and success for the company.
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Written by Mary Kelly PhD
Read more posts by Mary Kelly PhD