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Key Management Trends For 2016

Key Management Trends For 2016

What will be the key trends in management in 2016? As I was recently thinking about this issue, an interesting document came across my in-box: a series of management-related predictions for the new year.  They were from the employee engagement survey firm TINYpulse, and developed from some 400,000 management and employee survey responses over the past few years.

As this is 2016 there were 16 predictions in all, but I was drawn to 6 of them, which in my opinion also tell a surprisingly linear story about the changing face of management. Here they are:

Millennials will start dominating the workplace culture – Just a logical consequence, as Millennials are now the largest generation in the workforce. But this sets the stage for much of which follows – as they more fully exert “majority influence on company  culture.” As TINYpulse puts it, expect workplace values to continue to shift “to those prioritized by this generation, from collaboration to social responsibility and work-life integration.

Engagement will remain a #1 concern – 87% of companies consider “culture and engagement” top priorities, the predictions note, and this focus is unlikely to change, given that engaged, committed employees are “the core of so many vital components of workplace success.” Given, too, that vast numbers of employees remain disengaged – around 70%, according to numerous national surveys – there’s no shortage of substantive management work to be done here.

Professional development opportunities will be a key factor in turnover rates – “Opportunities for growth will be vital,” the report states, “and lack of them will pop up frequently in exit interviews.” I fully agree.  Lack of opportunity is a sure motivation killer. Numerous studies show this to be true.  It’s a subject I frequently write about; indeed it’s hard to think of a management function that’s so highly valued (and easy to satisfy), yet so often neglected.

Watch out for a new hidden turnover risk – HR executives, take note of this prediction in the report: “The job market recovery and declining unemployment rate will uncover a new attrition risk: the ‘middle of the pack’ employees who are neither strongly engaged nor terribly disengaged. The low commitment level of these workers may not have have been an issue when it was an employers’ market and alternate options were scarce. As more opportunities open up, they’ll easily drift away.” Having managed more than a few middle-of-the-packers over the years, I don’t doubt such drifting is a reasonable scenario.

Younger employees filling upper ranks will shift the definition of leadership – The report predicts a significant qualitative change in management style. “As baby boomers retire and younger employees fill supervisory roles, the nature of leadership will evolve. Look for management best practices to swing towards more collaborative and less hierarchical.”  As old guard command-and-control management diminishes, a challenge for the new guard will be to maintain solid results and accountability – not always the easiest task with a gentler collaborative touch.

There will be a greater push for transparency – “Millennials have grown up with information being instantly accessible,” the predictions observe, “so with their voice in the workplace increasing, you’ll hear them pushing for more management transparency.”  TINYpulse notes their data shows such transparency is very well received by employees.  This completely fits with my own management experience. Simply put, people like and appreciate being dealt with openly and honestly. Why wouldn’t they?

In short, expect a slow but steady sea change in management to continue in 2016, with the weight of Millennials driving the rising tide.

This article by Victor Lipman was originally published on Forbes.com. To read the full article click here


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