What if you could access eight important culture trends already at work, to help guide, shape and improve the health of your culture and, perhaps, increase your organizational impact.
Noted investor and financial advisor Martin Zweig has a famous saying: “Trends are your friends.”
Weeks and months of careful observation, study and conversations with a wide variety of Christian leaders has led me to these eight fascinating “friends.”
Which of these Eight Culture Trends for 2018, below, do you find most relevant and important to you and your organization?
1. Talent acquisition will become a growing challenge
The labor market is tight (and becoming tighter), as the economy continues to grow. This will impact the ability for Christian organizations to attract and retain their top performing people. Result: Leading organizations will use more social networking, analytics and tools to attract and find people who will be the best fit for their team and ministry.
2. Life-Giving Work will continue to be a key driver for the employee experience, culture and engagement
In 2017, BCWI statistical analysis revealed that out of our eight drivers of employee engagement, Life-Giving Work increased in importance. Upshot: The degree to which an employee feels their daily work is important and fulfills a calling and purpose beyond themselves is on the rise. In some Christian sectors such as Christian education, Life-giving Work is the number one driver of employee engagement, ahead of Inspirational leadership.
3. Spiritual formation is a larger part of staff and leadership development.
An employee’s spiritual vitality is a core requirement for working in a Christian organization. Peter Greer’s recent book Mission Drift does an excellent job of highlighting the slippery slope when an organization diminishes the spiritual aspect of their work.
My interviews with Ruth Haley Barton, Steve Macchia, Elisa Morgan, Peter Greer, and others on the Flourishing Culture Podcast reveal a recurring theme: “You can only lead and serve from who you are.” and many others have emphasized this point.
In 2018, we’ll see more Christian organizations ramping up their focus and energy on corporate worship and staff gatherings. We’re apt to see leaders build spiritual disciplines into the life of their organization and their employees. This is sure to include more time invested in team devotions, personal reflection, Sabbath, and individual spiritual retreats.
4. Leadership and staff development will begin to be real time, all the time
This will be facilitated by online learning platforms which will start to eclipse the more traditional two-day, on-site leadership development course? Example: Pam Marmom, Adjunct Professor of Business at Wheaton College, recently launched a for-credit, online course on change leadership for less than $200.
In a recent interview Joni Eareckson Tada told me how much their staff and leadership have learned by participating in CLA’s online credentialing courses. In 2018, I believe we’ll see Christian organizations network to create online video content for staff and leadership development, all through the lens of a biblical worldview. Upside: Increased competence and skill-building, plus reduced costs of sending people to off-site training programs.
Leading organizations will use social networking and tools to find people who will be the best fit for their team.”
5. Goal setting and performance management will focus on continuous feedback and coaching, while reducing the focus on appraisal
While performance management is as important as ever, organizations will continue to perform better when an employee’s goals are aligned with the organization’s goals and there is regular, healthy communication between supervisor and employee about development of the skills needed to achieve these goals. Performance management and an increased focus on continuous feedback and coaching contributes to BCWI’s engagement driver Uplifting Growth.
Two-way conversation between manager and employee–which creates mutually-healthy communication, openness, transparency and trust—will continue to trend upward, especially as employees sense that managers seek and value their input to improve the organization’s effectiveness.
6. Incorporate diversity along with closer scrutiny about sexual harassment
A generation ago, it was said that the most segregated places in the U.S. were in church on Sunday morning. This will continue to change both in church congregations and staff, as leaders and employees experience how greater diversity ties to an organization’s productivity. The Best Christian Workplaces Institute is pleased to report a continued, upward trend of greater racial ethnicity in the workplace. Bottom line: Employees need to reflect the diverse audiences they serve.
A growing awareness of the Matt Lauer tragedy and other examples of harmful sexual harassment will continue to drive home two realities: First, the abuse of power creates a very toxic environment. Second, the Christian community is not exempt from this issue and thus will continue to take this issue very seriously.
7. More of the workforce will be virtual and part of “the gig economy.”
A recent study by the group Fieldglass indicates the share of “nontraditional” freelancers, interns and part-time workers will grow by 25% in 2018 and beyond. Not long ago, Shannon Miles, the co-founder of the virtual assistant firm, Belay, told me many of their employees can be highly productive working remotely. Conclusion: Christian organizations will no longer consider their workforce to be only their employees, but rather increasingly include freelancers, gig economy workers and crowds. This phenomenon may well redesign workplace culture as we know it today and create a new way of thinking about workforce planning and the very nature of work.
8. Christian leadership will change to empower a new breed of leaders who can thrive in a rapidly changing world
A number of younger, rapidly growing churches and ministries are now being led by high-profile, seasoned personalities. Village Church in the Dallas area is a rapidly growing church with a remarkable team made up of three, key senior leaders. Result: The creation of teams that can work together, complement each other, and function as a team that can scale.
Alec Hill, President Emeritus of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is now spending his time mentoring and coaching the next generation of leaders at InterVarsity, where millennials now make up a majority of leaders.
Hope International exemplifies this team based- leadership approach. Their CEO, Peter Greer, models next-generation leaders with high levels of learning agility, emotional intelligence, change competence essential to building flourishing cultures that attract what’s needed to continue their culture transformation.
Thoughts? Reactions? Shout outs? I’m an email away. Your ideas and perspectives can help write the storyline of culture trends for 2018.
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