What lies ahead? Three key workplace predictions for 2015

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Written by Armin Hopp on 10 December 2014

2014 feels like it’s gone by in a flash and people are already looking back at how their year went and planning fresh goals for 2015. I’ve enjoyed dozens of fantastic networking events and conferences this year and have had the pleasure to meet some brilliant and inspiring people along the way. More than ever before, 2014 has shown me the importance of collaborating and communicating face to face to make great things happen. So what can we expect next year? These are some of my 2015 predictions.

1.Greater fluidity of talent: Job hopping is set to grow exponentially next year, with many Millennials and Gen Y employees turning into nomadic job seekers who are unwilling to settle long-term. These generations enjoy strong networks, are tech-savvy and extremely well-informed. Mobile and social recruitment tools are exploding, with more than 80 per cent of job seekers already relying on theirs smartphones to search for new positions and the majority of candidates more inclined to apply for a company that uses social media to source talent. As a result, it will be even more challenging for companies to hold on to their best people. At the same time, there is increasing evidence of a glaring skills gap in the job market, which is unlikely to be closed in 2015. So we’re looking at restless employees on the one hand, and companies who claim they can’t find the right candidates to fill their positions on the other. This isn’t an easy place to be. Companies can only attempt to keep their employees by offering a perks and clearly defined career path with growth opportunities which will fulfil their staff’s needs and help to diminish the skills gap.

2.New allies for HR and L&D: With technology seeping through to the recruitment, training and retention of our talent, the need for HR and IT to collaborate is becoming ever clearer. Once considered an “odd couple” who would have little reason to even talk to one another, these two departments will find more and more common ground in the future and realise how important it is for them to work together. This trend is also reflected in HR technology market, which was already worth a stunning £9.6 billion in 2014. I’m not saying HR and L&D managers need to become tech pros overnight, but understanding and leveraging technology to support their goals will ultimately be a competitive advantage for the company.

Another potential ally for HR and L&D can be found further up the food chain. In a recent study by Ellie Filler of Korn Ferry, there was a surprising overlap between the skills needed to be a Chief Executive Officer and the skills needed to be a Chief Human Resources Officer. HR is moving away from being a back-office, administrative department to becoming deeply involved in the company’s business’ overall strategies. The aspects with the greatest overlap found in the study were task-focused and social leadership styles, flexible, complex and creative thinking styles, as well as emotional competencies, such as ambiguity tolerance, composure, empathy, energy and humility. So be prepared to see more senior HR professionals entering the board room than in the past. The only thing they might still need to work on is confidence – here, CEOs are still miles ahead in the study.

3.An age of transparency:  2015 will call for leaders to display very different kinds of skills from those in the past. Instead of just managing and executing, they will need to break down hierarchical barriers and collaborate with their employees as peers more than ever before. This involves openness and transparency. In fact, Generations Z and Y rate honesty as the most important quality a leader can have. During our annual talent management forum in Berlin, we discussed traits of successful leaders. Here too, our delegates named “soft” traits such as honesty, but also understanding and compassion as crucial. We are heading towards an age in which employees demand to know what is really going on in their company and simultaneously, want their voice to be heard and understood by top management. Some companies are already going as far as letting their staff view everyone’s salaries and bonuses. But for many organisations, this would still be a taboo for the moment. Whatever approach we choose, open communication will lead to better employee morale and give our top talent a reason to stay.

The New Year will pose many new challenges for the workplace – such as business efficiency, productivity and growth, but if we’re able to think outside the box and really listen to our people, these challenges can be turned into great opportunities. I’m excited to see how things pan out. Roll on 2015!

Armin Hopp is the founder and president of Speexx


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