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What’s In-Store in 2018: Emerging Trends in Workforce Management

The biggest understatement any man, woman or child could make is to say that 2017 was an “eventful” year. Let’s get serious for the next five minutes. Not since the suffrage movement in 1893 when Colorado was the first state to grant women the right to vote, and quite possibly the second-wave of the U.S. feminist movement of 1963 with the publishing of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, have we seen as much volcanic change in workforce management in general, and woman equality more specifically.

 

There are two parts that will comprise the equation of workplace equality in 2018; equally aligned pay scales between men and woman with the same responsibilities and experience, and a keen, discerning eye on anything resembling, interpreted as, or reported to be inappropriate behavior of nearly any kind between any parties in the workforce.

 

Almost universally, women are compensated less than their male counterparts. To be sure, some states are closer to equal than others, while other states like Wyoming and Louisiana show signs of discrepancies as high as 35%. But companies are now taking notice of the compensation gaps, and as Michael Lingat, spokesperson for international workforce management and labor scheduling company, Workloud, predicts, 2018 will be a sea of change, a paradigm shift, if you will, toward more equality.

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Lingat, like countless others, knows that sexual harassment, inappropriate behavior, and even a whiff of such activities can no longer be swept under the rug by corporations of any size and in any industry. Further, lame excuses, some made famous by Linda Bloom, Harvey Weinstein’s former attorney describing her client as, “…an old dinosaur learning new ways,” should help quell the bad advice companies are receiving, in addition to landing their advisors in plenty of hot water. As seismic and rapid as the fallout has been, in the inimitable words of the 1983 best-selling album by Bachman-Turner Overdrive, You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet.

 

But these aren’t the only trends receiving the watchful eye of the executives at Workloud. Work/’Life Balance and Genuine Cultural Change will be two other trends that could reach tipping-point proportions. In 2018, these could move from lip service to actionable recalibrations sooner rather than later.

In the case or Work/Life Balance, the delicate distinction between both is severely complicated by lower than usual unemployment rates coupled with worker shortages in some states. This will present unique challenges for employers looking for the right employees, who, in turn, are looking for the right employers. Although Ping-Pong tables, foosball and well-planned office spaces are helpful, in the end they are only cosmetic disguises for what will run deep in 2018. The winning companies will understand that the right fit goes beyond these amenities and squarely addresses where the intersection for family, friends, respites and recreational opportunities lies within an organization and its culture.

 

And speaking of culture, this is where transformation will need to meet aspiration in 2018. Many companies have been quick to talk about cultural organization, but it seems that true change is slow. For certain, the process is not a quick turnaround, but the leadership at Workloud , in speaking with their extensive customer base, believes that companies are seeing that an investment in culture, including but not limited to, training and education, innovation, high performance standards with measured compensation, and heightened engagement, communication and decision-making at all levels within an organization, can reap enormous benefits not only in ROI, but also in ROV (Return on Value) and ROL (Return on Loyalty).

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Originally published January 15, 2018, updated January 23, 2018
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