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Top 10 trends influencing the workplace
There is a new wave making its way through HR departments and changing the way benefits managers are looking at everything from recruiting to employee engagement strategies. Speaking recently at the Society for Human Resource Management’s annual show in New Orleans, Dan Schawbel, a partner and research director at Future Workplace, an HR executive network and research firm, shared these 10 trends employers can expect in the near future.
1. An enhanced job candidate and employee experience
For the jobseeker, there is the feeling resumes aren’t even being looked at, which is why the hiring and onboarding process are growing opportunities for employers to beef up a positive experience. “We need to start humanizing the process, because the world we live in people can easily complain online and that can hurt [your reputation] forever,” Schawbel says.

Similarly, Schawbel says the employee experience in general needs to be enhanced as well. Employers can do that by investing in more training and development, improving the workspace and by giving more rewards and recognition.
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2. A blended workforce
The misconception is that everyone will be a freelancer in the future, Schawbel warns, but companies are still hiring more full-time staffers than contractors. Still, employers must create benefit strategies that will work across a mixed employee base

How do employers improve the freelancer experience? Here are some tips he suggests:

· Onboard freelancers so they feel comfortable
· Encourage teamwork between all types of employees
· Use new recruiting tools to find on-demand talent
· Leverage technology for collaboration
· Create a feedback loop
3. Continuous job performance feedback
More and more companies are continuing to drop annual performance reviews for the instant gratification of a continuous feedback strategy. Schawbel points to the successes of GE, which recently dropped annual reviews for “touchpoints,” a real-time performance review, which resulted in a five times increase in productivity the following year.
4. Connecting with millennials
The millennials are moving into management positions, but still require some coaching, Schawbel says. Work flexibility continues to be the global king of benefits targeted to this group, as people are working harder and longer hours without additional pay. “There needs to be this gift,” he says.
5. Augmented and virtual reality
Technology is making its way into HR, both in terms of training and recruiting. A few key applications, he says, that will make its way into the workplace include:

1. Training
· More engaging and efficient programs
· Lower cost

2. Recruiting
· Candidates can visit your office remotely
· Online job fairs can be more interactive
6. The smart office
This is where HR meets IT. “These [technology] conversations are happening today because there is such a focus on creating the best experience where the office feels seamless,” Schawbel says. From technologies like virtual desktop infrastructures to mobile apps can help employees automatically check in when they arrive at work, these technologies eliminate the tedious tasks nobody wants to do so they can instead focus on the work and the team.
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7. A focus on team (versus individual) performance
Data from Deloitte found was on organizational design to put more focus on a team than on individual performance, Schawbel says. “Teaming is going to be so critical,” he says.
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8. Workplace wellness
One in three workers want to work at a company with a wellness program, Schawbel notes. “Everyone is stressed. Because of that, companies need to get behind health and wellness programs,” he says, pointing to studies that show wellness leads to lower healthcare costs and absenteeism. “It’s really important to invest not only in training and development, but a support system [for employees] to be more healthy and productive.”
9. Employee benefits as a recruitment tool
What employers offer beyond compensation continues to be the biggest draw for top talent, Schwabel says. Jobseekers are spending more time researching companies, looking for perks that align to them. Perks that promote work-life balance, including workplace flexibility, are growing in popularity and importance.
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10. Telecommuting on the rise
With telecommuting and remote workers become more popular, employers need to establish strategies to engage and communicate with a growingly spread out workforce. With the lower human interaction, there is an increase in communication among workers, he notes.