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Ask Dr. Sharkey: Stay On Top of 2019’s Workplace Trends All Year Long

Posted by Dr. Linda Sharkey on 2.14.2019


“Hi, Dr. Sharkey! The new year is in full swing. This means new workplace trends are already succeeding (or failing). To be the best leader, I want to fully understand what trends are making a big impact early on in 2019 that are improving how workplaces are running and what employee needs leaders are focusing on right now. What are some trends you see in the works and how do I stay on top of them all year long?”

First of all, I’m glad you asked this question.

Obviously, AI is currently and will continue on as an ever-present trend. Having candid conversations with your team about how AI is and will be leveraged in your company or department is essential.

Helping your team get comfortable working with robots and AI, even in a small way, will be important to prepare them for today and the inevitable future.

Open the floor for employees to discuss trends

It isn’t always about what trends you’re seeing as a leader. The best way to know what trends will impact your workplace the most is to reach out to the source -- your team.

Have open employee communications. Ask what trends they’re seeing and how they think they can leverage AI in their work. Then, host lunch and learns. Yes, old fashion lunch and learns are where your team can best learn how others are integrating AI into their daily work routines.

Focus on the human side of technology trends

Technology will never replace the need for human connection, both emotionally and intellectually. That’s why you have to focus on the human side of work, which is goal setting.  

I’m not talking about the antiquated MBO’s that cascade electronically throughout the organization. I’m talking about an alliance-building process between you and your team members about what is important to achieve by the end of the year, how those goals fit into the set achievements, and what they personally want to achieve or learn by year end.  

This discussion builds a bond and alliance between you and your team members. One of the most important bonds you’ll have at work is one that builds mutual trust and respect.

Stay on top of employees’ personal aspirations

An important trend to always follow is that of your employees’ goals. Understanding their career and learning aspirations is an essential dialogue to keep open all year long. Knowing their goals and preferred career directions will guide you in future assignments.

This knowledge also helps you remain open and honest when their career direction may not fit with your organizational direction or needs. Together, you can now create a proactive plan.

Remember, the workforce of the future will be much more transient. People may work with you for a year or maybe a few more, but they’ll eventually move on. Try not to see this as a threat. Instead, view it as an opportunity to build an ally in another company. You never know when your paths will cross again. And odds are, they will cross again.  

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Topics: employee communication, trends, future workplace, workplace communication, ask dr. sharkey

Human Resources Today