Employee Retention

  Top Ten Workplace/Workforce Forecasts for 2004
For additional information on any of these forecasts, call The Herman Group, Strategic Futurists, in Greensboro, North Carolina, at 336-210-3547. These forecasts were prepared by Roger Herman and Joyce Gioia, Professional Members of The World Future Society and Founding Members of The Association of Professional Futurists.
  1. Employment Market Turbulence. Pent-up energy among employees who have felt trapped in their current positions will stimulate unprecedented churning in the labor marketplace. The turbulence in the employment market will threaten corporate stability and capacity to serve customers. Some companies will go out of business because they are unable to retain a sufficient number of qualified employees to get the work done.

    As the economy picks up, employers that treated employees badly during the tight economy will be in serious trouble. More workers will leave, laid-off employees won't return, and fewer applicants will choose to work there.

  2. Shift to Sellers' Market in Labor. As the economy picks up, employers will face the most severe shortage of skilled labor in history. Corporate recruiters will become more aggressive in a highly competitive race to attract and hold top talent. Workers who are fortunate enough to have found their preferred work environment will tend to stay longer. People will seek stability, but may change jobs more frequently in their search for their personal Employer of Choice®.

  3. Fluid International Job Movement. Economic issues and skilled labor shortages in the United States will move even more jobs to other countries, where workers will improve their skills to perform new tasks. In some cases, US employers will discover that foreign workers are not performing satisfactorily and jobs will be returned to this country.

  4. Retirement will Evaporate. Retirement, as we have known it for two generations, will continue its metamorphosis. Fewer people will retire completely. Retirees will move into jobs in other fields, start their own businesses, and engage in other activities to remain active and productive into their seventies, eighties, and even nineties.

  5. Training and Education will Accelerate. Workers will discover that their skills are obsolete or insufficient to gain the jobs they want. Employers will place greater emphasis on education and training. Corporate development programs will accelerate to accommodate new employees and the redevelopment of existing staff. The demand for vocational education will begin to grow, as people realize the increasing need-and higher income paid to skilled workers. Educators will be challenged to make major changes to the current system to produce graduates ready to cope in a faster-moving world.

  6. Leadership Deficit will be Crippling. As employers discover serious inadequacies, leadership development will take on new importance. Senior executives not demonstrating leadership qualities will be asked to leave. Up and coming managers will be expected to learn and practice leadership skills---before being moved into senior or even mid-level positions.

  7. Flexible Employment will gain Popularity. As more people work flexible hours, work from home, and use technology to work for employers in distant locations, the traditional workday and workweek will further erode. Part of this movement will be driven by parents---male and female---who want to spend more time with their children.

  8. Casual is Here to Stay. Despite some movement to return to more formality in the workplace, corporate casual will remain the norm in most industries. Informality will be seen in clothing, culture, office décor, and workplace structural design. Emphasis will be placed on productive relationships---inside and outside the organization.

  9. Advantage of Agility. Companies will re-create themselves to be more agile, more nimble, more responsive to their customers and their workers. Marketers will seek ways to become more sensitive to their external environment, feeding intelligence quickly to senior executives who will act in a more timely manner than has been seen before. Relationships, resources, knowledge, and speed will become strategic weapons.

  10. Workers Becoming Independent. More people will become independent contractors, selling their services to employers on a project, contract, or set-term basis. This movement will stimulate the development of specialized staffing firms and electronic communities to connect individual workers with employers.

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