Top 10 Workplace Psychology Trends & Issues for 2017

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For the past four years, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) has released a prediction of the top trends in workplaces for the upcoming year. To create this year’s list, SIOP surveyed its members to identify which of certain predicted issues were the top 10 that organizations are likely to see emerge or continue to grow in 2017. Here’s what more than 800 SIOP members had to say:

#10: Increased Focus on Employee Health and Wellness. Stress has become a fact of life for today’s average employee, whether it’s caused by increasing workplace demands, a changing organizational environment or economic hardships. As research continues to illuminate the effects of stress on employee satisfaction, motivation, effectiveness and engagement, employers can expect to place more emphasis on safeguarding their employees’ mental, physical and emotional well-being for the organization’s benefit.

#9: Data Integration Across Sources, Systems and Processes. This year will see a greater focus on data integration. Organizations will focus on combining multiple disparate pieces of workforce data (such as engagement surveys, HRIS data, exit interview data, etc.) and performing analytics across data and over time. We’ll also see an increased use of data collection methods, and organizations may begin to explore nontraditional frontiers, such as marrying internal with external data and measuring social networks/collaboration.

#8: Growing Importance of Diversity and Inclusion. From recruitment to selection to experiences on the job, this year organizations will focus on diversity and inclusion, and how they drive organizational outcomes.

#7: Capturing the Voice of the Employee. Employees’ voices will become more important to organizations this year as they focus on collecting employee feedback more frequently, utilizing innovations for capturing that feedback, and taking action to drive engagement based on those results.

#6: The Changing Nature of the Workforce. As Baby Boomers continue to retire and younger generations enter the workforce, organizations’ demographics will evolve, with lasting implications for organizational culture and management. At the same time, new technology and innovations will push for further automation of tasks and the growing use of artificial intelligence could have drastic implications for how organizations and employees function.    

#5: Flexibility and Its Effect on the Way Work Is Done. For many employees, the typical 9-to-5 Monday through Friday work schedule is a remnant of the past. Continued focus on the benefits and drawbacks of offering more flexibility for employees will put this topic at the forefront of many employers’ minds this year. As more organizations begin to embrace flexible work schedules and arrangements, telecommuting, and virtual teams, a greater emphasis will need to be placed on how these changes affect the way people get their work done, how they collaborate, and how to create meaningful, satisfying interpersonal interaction among remote workforces.

#4: People Analytics. Organizations will not only be focused on integrating data from across multiple sources and systems, but also on using analytics to address talent-related questions, such as for HR decision making, assisting in selection decisions, and talent identification and management.

#3: Leveraging Big Data to Make Data-Driven Decisions. This year, organizations will work to tie all their data to workforce planning to make better, informed business and workforce decisions. Data-based strategic decision making will go beyond data analytics to create meaningful data-based action plans.

#2: Adapting to Change Effectively. The workplace continues to evolve at an ever-increasing pace. In response to those changes, organizations will need to focus on increasing agility, and working efficiently and effectively in the face of constant change.

#1: The Changing Nature of Performance Management. How to evaluate and manage performance has been one of the key issues organizations have faced in recent years. As organizations continue to face issues with traditional performance management systems proving ineffective or having a negative impact on engagement and culture, they can expect a greater need to think outside the traditional performance review box and focus more on evolving and redesigning performance management systems, rethinking annual reviews and ratings, and evaluating goal setting.