Smart business leaders are always thinking ahead—to next month, next quarter, even next year.
They know the importance of staying up to date on trends both within their own company and the industry as a whole since being an early adopter is usually easier than trying to play catch-up. As Alexander Graham Bell said, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”
To help you stay ahead of the game, we put together a list of the three big workplace trends that will be picking up speed in 2017. Read on to see where you’ll need to focus your efforts in the coming year.
Eco-friendly and Green Workspaces
Having an environmentally conscious workspace used to mean recycling printer paper and replacing incandescent lights with LED bulbs. In the last decade, businesses have grown more aware of their energy and natural resource consumption and how it affects their own bottom line and their brand image.
A more dramatic way of increasing the eco-friendliness of an office is to install a “living wall,” also known as a vertical garden. Living walls can reduce energy costs by offering natural insulation in the winter months and cooling the workspace in the summer via a process known as evapotranspiration. On a smaller scale, businesses can install motion-sensing lights that turn off when an area isn’t in use and purchase office furniture made from recycled materials.
A company’s commitment to sustainability and being green is becoming increasingly important, especially in terms of retention and recruitment. According to the 2016 Cone Communications Employee Engagement Study, 58 percent of job seekers consider a company’s environmental responsibility when choosing where to apply and 51 percent refuse to work for a company that doesn’t have a strong commitment to the environment.
Loan Repayment Programs
(Not So) Fun Fact: The average education loan balance for a Class of 2016 graduate is a record-breaking $37,172.
Employers in the non-profit and government sectors have been providing student loan repayment assistance for about the last decade, but recently, more private-sector companies have begun offering repayment benefits. As the price of a bachelor’s degree continues to rise, so, too, will the number of graduates burdened by debt. Companies that can offer loan repayment programs will find it easier to attract quality job candidates and retain employees. A 2015 survey by American Student Assistance found that for 76 percent of job seekers, if all other factors are equal, an employer’s ability to offer loan repayment assistance would either be the deciding factor or “considerably affect” their decision when choosing whether or not to work there.
The Importance of the “Candidate Experience”
Successful businesses dedicate a considerable amount of energy to providing a positive customer experience. And an increasing number of companies have begun investing in the employee experience. But not every organization has adequately considered the impact of the candidate experience.
According to relationship researcher John Gottman, it takes five positive interactions to make up for one negative interaction. Gottman may have been referring to romantic relationships, but the sentiment can easily be applied to recruiting. In other words, a job candidate must see five good company reviews to counterbalance a single bad review. Of the 1,200 individuals surveyed by research firm Future Workplace in its 2016 Candidate Experience Study, 60 percent claimed to have had a poor candidate experience and 72 percent shared this experience online.
Something as simple as keeping candidates notified of their application status can go a long way toward a positive experience. And even if the candidates who felt disrespected don’t post a review online, they’ll likely be discouraged from applying for future positions at the company, which can affect the employer’s talent pool.
As the end of 2016 approaches, start thinking about where you’d like to see your workplace and workforce this time next year. The implementation of some of the above initiatives may take months or even years to complete, but you can at least get the ball rolling. It’s never too early to take the first step to enact the changes you believe will have the biggest impact on your enterprise’s success.
Don’t let the upgrades you make to your workplace be for naught. Check out our free SlideShare, Top 11 Ways Enterprise Companies Leak Money, and see how to avoid common profitability pitfalls.