“Don’t follow trends, start trends.”
—Frank Capra, Director, “It’s a Wonderful Life”
What if your organization didn’t merely follow workplace trends, but rather helped create them in 2019?
Our expanding work with churches, organizations and Christian-led companies, combined with ongoing field research and observations have led us to identify Seven Leading Workplace Trends for 2019.
Which of these seven ahead-of-the-curve developments, below, may already be at work in your organization as you seek to build a healthier culture of growing trust, increased effectiveness, and energized people who love coming to work?
Low unemployment and the slowing economy will cause talent acquisition to be a growing challenge.
With unemployment at record low levels, the labor market is the tightest it’s been in decades. Yet, as the economy tightens, top-talent candidates are likely to stay in their current position, rather than risk seeking new positions in new organizations.
Upshot: Organizations will find it difficult to attract new, available talent. Churches and parachurch ministry organizations known for having healthy or flourishing cultures are less likely to lose their best talent, thus increasing the opportunity for greater transparency and more effective communication.
How men and women work together in the Christian workplace will foster new, healthier, and overdue levels of mutual respect.
In light of high-profile leaders who have fallen, the #metoo, #churchtoo movements will continue to raise needed, worthwhile questions about behaviors, especially in the Christian workplace.
People expect Christian leaders to be above board about relationships between men and women. I like what pastor, author and justice advocate Danielle Strickland said at last summer’s Global Leadership Summit: “Men and women work better together than alone.” To this end, organizations are establishing new expectations and practices, such as fellow employees of the opposite sex not traveling together by cab or airplane or lodging in the same hotel.
Result: Greater accountability, responsibility and safety can yield new levels of mutual respect among all employees, particularly across genders.
Sustainable strategy is growing in its importance in the Christian workplace.
Sustainable strategy, “an organization’s deliberate, effective approach to serve its constituents,” is one of the eight BCWI drivers that impact the health Christian-led workplaces. Look for the importance of strategy to climb in 2019 because it entails the plan determined to achieve the organization’s vision and provide a solution to meet the need the organization has set out to remedy.
Upside: The greater the level of employee involvement in the creation of strategy the more closely employees will be aligned to and engaged in the organization’s overall direction. Thus, the strategy is apt to be more sustainable.
Get ready for improving a person’s well-being at work.
Prior to the emphasis on employee engagement, the talk was all about employee satisfaction, and prior to this, it was employee morale.
Now, we’re starting to talk about employee wellbeing in the workplace. The term “employee wellness” speaks to the need for an employee’s improved health through exercise programs like walking 10,000 steps a day, better nutrition, and incentivized weight-loss plan. These efforts have evolved into total wellbeing, a holistic approach to address the emotional, physical, financial, professional, and even spiritual needs of employees.
Confirmation: Recently, in the 2018 Gallagher Benefits Strategy & Benchmarking Survey, wellbeing was recognized as one of the biggest trends in solution-minded organizations.
Of the 52% of employees surveyed believe their organization has an effective wellbeing strategy. In terms of innovative, wellbeing support, organizations were offering financial advisors (62%), discounted products/ services/ events (58%), gym subsidies (48%), financial literacy (47%), debt counseling (23%), and student loan forgiveness (13%).
Far beyond wellness programs, organizations will have to explore creative new workspace concepts, design work with overall employee wellbeing in mind, and offer transformative technologies to help monitor and change employee behavior. In addition, the work of inclusion and belonging will take on even greater importance for ministry success.
Attracting the right people through self-selection is one of the best ways to start attracting the right talent.”
Expect organizations to hire for culture (attitudes and behaviors) rather than qualifications.
It’s all about how you attract, hire, and retain people who fit your organization. A good example is Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, near Seattle, which has improved their culture, in part, by hiring based on qualifications and, increasingly, overall fit.
Next step: Attracting the right people through self-selection is one of the best ways to start attracting the right talent while deterring those who might not be the best fit. It’s all about getting the kind of person who gets what your organization is all about and then investing in his or her overall wellbeing on the job.
Let’s welcome the CHRO (Chief Human Resources Office into the C-suite of Christian ministries.
Because it’s already one of the biggest differentiators of organizational performance, talent will become even more vital in 2019. With CEOs and senior pastors concerned about the availability of highly skilled, competent people, CHROs are now sitting at the strategy table with fellow decision makers.
Ramification: Look for CHROs to play a key role is the generational shift in the labor-market. As baby boomers continue to retire at rapid rates, the millennial generation is assuming a much larger slice of the employee pie.
The employee experience is everything.
Employee experience has become the lens through which all of HR’s work is viewed. It starts with the pre-hire, as candidates interact with an employer’s brand (often their website) which forms a prospect’s initial impressions and expectations. The employee experience is then reinforced during the onboarding process and cemented through each day the new employee experiences the organization.
At BCWI, we know that an engagement survey is a highly accurate way to measure the quality of the employee experience. Such a survey helps organizations predict turnover or retention of employees in key positions, roles, and departments. Preventing top performers from quitting can decrease turnover and save an employer from $20,000-$40,000.
Result: Improving the measurable health of the employees’ experience is vital to building a flourishing workplace, where you can land, retain, and motivate your top talent to new levels of effectiveness.
Recently, Miles McPherson, founding pastor of The Rock Church in San Diego, told me their culture transformation from toxic to healthy hinged on improving the employee experience. Better training, and an increased priority on healthy relationships, among other workplace improvements, has led to reduced turnover and a greater employee wellbeing.
Alpha USA is another example of a ministry organization that’s seeing an uplift in their workplace culture and the employee experience.
Look what’s on the tail-end of these seven leading workplace trends in 2019!
Who let the dogs out?
According to Scientific American, “It’s growing increasingly common to see pets at work, especially at smaller company settings in New York City. LinkedIn has 178 results for ‘dog friendly’ jobs in NYC, which presumably means they either have a designated ‘office dog,’ or multiple employees may bring their dogs in.”
It’s Your Turn!
Which of these trends might jump-start your workplace, your culture, your people in 2019? How might you, as a leader, take courage this year to live the scripture, “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds” (Proverbs 27:23)?
We Kickoff a New Series:
Eight Ways to Build a Flourishing Workplace Culture
Al would love to address your questions about creating a flourishing workplace culture. Send an email to AskAl@bcwinstitute.org
Click here to learn more!