Forecasting Employment and Workplace Trends.

While this is not political commentary, forecasting business trends for 2017 is unique mainly because of the election of Donald Trump. As I thought about all that we’ve experienced to date, I wrote down the word disTrumptive.  Disruptive approaches to business have been heralded of late, such as those of Amazon, Uber, and AirBnB.  President Trump’s arrival in our Nation’s Capital brings that disruptive spirit toward the established political system. As his administration represents no more business as usual and things not seen before, “disTrumptive” seems to fit.

This year in business, I believe we will see fewer restrictions and reduced barriers to growth, which can be conducive to innovative thinking. However, with significant change, there is also the likelihood of increased resistance and headwinds. With leadership, this tension can be used to sharpen a company’s strategic planning.

Even before President Trump’s inauguration, we were already seeing evidence of the effects of the election in America’s economy.  In a CEO survey of small businesses conducted by the Wall Street Journal and Vistage, an executive coaching organization,  58% of CEOs expected the economy to improve during the year ahead, which is more than twice the 22% recorded in the 3rd quarter.

Also, the Vistage CEO Confidence Index jumped to 105.2 in the Q4 survey, up from 91.4 in the 3rd quarter, the second-largest increase since 2003. This is very significant as small businesses represent 80% of the employee base. These findings appear to give credence to the ‘no more business as usual’ promise as being good for economic growth.

Please don’t take my observations as a political endorsement. As a business owner, part of my responsibility is to stay abreast of trends and economic winds. And in 2017, these winds are already making an impact.

So, how does small business optimism as indicated above translate to my profession:  employment and employment testing? And how do these trends impact the HR innovations we create for our clients?

I expect employment to increase, leading to strenuous competition for quality employees. To achieve hiring goals, companies will take a fresh, comprehensive look at their hiring processes. Within each step of that process, Employment Technologies is equipped to lead businesses toward an integrated, innovative solution.  

Let’s start with candidate experience. Forbes Magazine reported in an article on workplace trends that “60% of job seekers have had a poor candidate experience, and later, 72% of them have shared their experience on an online employer review site.” For companies alarmed by these numbers, Employment Technologies offers an alternative to traditional evaluative processes by using immersive story-based testing, which offers a reversal of numbers!  In follow-up studies with our clients about the candidate experience, 92% of job candidates respond favorably to our story-based testing.

Other factors related to employment testing in our new disTrumptive business world?

Flexibility. Millennials, now a major portion of the workforce, think differently. They are less accepting of traditional structure and procedures. Helping our clients find the right mix of structure and adaptability is always part of our agenda. Also, I’m keeping an eye out for emerging technologies that support flexibility for Millennials throughout the work day.

Responsiveness to the individual. Companies will want to take tailored-learning and coaching to a new level. We applaud this emphasis as efforts to address individual skills and development typically improve motivation and retention, and eventually, overall organizational health. Our assessments come with onboarding plans that can be customized to reflect a company’s culture.

Merit and performance. Consider someone who wants an endorsement because they can beat Usain Bolt in a 100-meter race. You want to see him actually run 100 meters before acting on his claim, right? A similar expectation will become more prevalent in pre-hire procedures, which is exciting for our team. We’ve been creating award winning performance-based simulations for more than 20 years!

Shortened attention spans. With nano-second levels of communication speed and access, attention spans are tightening. Candidate and employee activities will be shortened or compressed to avoid boredom and drop out, which will likely create tension with quality. Our Innovation and Research teams lead the way in developing HR solutions that help balance this tension between time and effectiveness.

These are a few of the dynamics we’re watching in this new year of disTrumptive business. If you want to learn more about how I became passionate about using simulation technologies for hiring, drop me a note.  I welcome your interest.