It’s always good sport to observe and predict trends in business and culture, and then look back in a year and two to see how it went! Here are 6 trends I’ve been reading about:
1. Millennials welcome Generation Z
America’s youngest generation, “Gen-Z” (those born after 1998), are now entering their formative years and rising in influence. At nearly 70 million strong, the eldest of which are now entering college and/or the workforce, this group will soon outnumber their Millennial predecessors.
Millennials are not children anymore. In fact, the oldest of them are now 35. Millennials are increasingly taking leadership roles within organizations. In addition to managing their peers, Millennials will soon be managing Gen Z employees. Will Millennial managers complain about Gen Z as much as Baby Boomer managers complained about Millennials? Only time will tell.
Gen Z is the first generation born with devices in hand and are radically different than Millennials. Smart companies and brands are working quickly to understand this next generation as an employee as well as consumer.
2. The CEO Statesman is on the rise.
CEOs are increasingly taking on social issues. Driving the trend: socially-conscious millennial workers, ineffective governments, and the need to build public trust in business. Expect to see more CEOs stepping up. With the labor market tight, they need to show that their companies are doing good in the world to attract the best talent.
3. The tech backlash builds.
As retailers worry about Amazon’s growing dominance, media companies struggle in the Facebook-Google-Netflix vice grip, Congress continues its quest for information on how Russia, ISIS and other bad actors benefit from social networks, and concerns about cyber security and data privacy grow. One area to watch is antitrust enforcement, where the government’s suit to block the AT&T-Time Warner merger could presage a new approach to vertical integration that could ultimately threaten the FAANG firms. (FAANG is an acronym for the market’s five most popular and best-performing tech stocks, namely Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google).
4. Wages and more on the rise
Human Resource managers should expect a 3 percent annual increase in wages across all sectors, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. In high demand jobs such as health care, elderly care, and physical therapy, expect wage increases to be higher.
We’ll also see wages likely increase in engineering, drone technology, and virtual reality. Wages have been stagnant for a few years, and with the unemployment rate at almost record low of about 4.1 percent of the labor force, employers will feel pressure to adjust compensation to attract and retain quality workers. As we’ve seen in recent years, large organizations will see health care costs rise by more than 6 percent this year. At the same time, coverage is declining.
5. Subject matter experts open doors
Subject matter experts (SMEs) are the new rainmakers. As technology continues to expand and disrupt industries, companies and clients rely more and more on SMEs to educate, guide and advise. Whereas your client can get information about your company’s products and services on your website, they can’t figure out how your solution might fit their needs.
SMEs provide a valuable resource to discuss industry trends, share best-practices, and delve into detailed discussions about how one solution might perform better than another. Whereas traditional sales professionals have noticed increased challenges in getting in front of customers, SMEs are welcomed into the room with open arms.
6. Hyper-local advertising will gain
These days, our smartphones can access all our information, and they can know our location (if we allow it). This is taking advertising to the next level: hyperlocal. This advertising utilizes your location to serve ads relevant to where you are. Imagine yourself in the store looking for a gadget that you have searched on your laptop, and you get an ad on your phone that they are offering something better and genuine from their store. If you can stand this level of knowledge about where you are at every minute, you’ll love this type of advertising, rather than getting into lots of useless advertising on your phone. Small businesses are in an excellent position to interact with their customers and market to them in a traditional, yet personal, way.
Sources: Forbes, The Next Scoop, Entrepreneur, Fortune