Six Workplace Trends to Watch in 2017

With the arrival of 2017, we’ve been spending time sizing up some of the many important developments, issues and trends in the workplace. And let us tell you: from tools, to employee experience, to team dynamics, workplace habits are a-changing. Teams are on the rise, the next generation of leaders are reshaping their work environments as I write, and the employer-employee contract continues to actively evolve.

Our analysis included published research findings, our own experience consulting to client companies, and ongoing monitoring of corporate commitments and published policies….With a bit of clairvoyance mixed in!

Color us *unsurprised* that Business Chemistry’s value had rarely been clearer.

Here are six specific, striking trends:

  1. The need to sell employees on their roles: Imagine an employer-employee contract where the employee is not simply told what their job is, but they’re an empowered agent actively sculpting it. By encouraging “job-crafting”, employee engagement and fulfillment levels rise1, along with tenure and even leadership competencies. This matters more than ever given that a full 90 percent2 of employers anticipate more competition for talent and because many millennials’ stays tend to be, well, short. Given the importance many Millennials place on customized experiences, Business Chemistry can help workers first understand their own preferences—so that they can more easily create a work identity that leverages their natural style. A Driver, for example, will likely be helped in designing her career path if she’s aware of, and can increase, her love of logic and problem solving.
  2. Rise of the self-aware employee: Among employers, confidence in psychometric assessments3 is on an upswing. And of the companies that use psychometric assessments currently, the largest spike in use is for employee development activities (in contrast to say, recruiting); 63 percent of companies now use these assessments for employee development as compared to only 43 percent in 2010. When an employee takes an assessment, it often sparks conversations that–even if small–tend to multiply. For example, the Integrator who talks about his experience taking the Business Chemistry assessment and how closely it describes his behavior, is likely to get feedback from others on whether his type description resonates. Both he and those he works with benefit from having this new insight. Ultimately, the self-aware employee has insight into his behaviors-noting how he’s distinct or similar from others-and whether situationally speaking, he’d be served to use a different style in a given situation than his default.
  3. The need for more ‘conscious conversations’: A continued shift toward everyday coaching–and away from formal, infrequent performance management–will likely intensify. Millennials are now the majoritygeneration at work. And more than other generations, Millennials indicate that they prefer continuous coaching and immediate feedback5. Using Business Chemistry, managers can provide feedback to Millennials not just on deliverables and work products—but on the style they employ. So a manager could tell a millennial that while their sales presentation was strong, it didn’t quite have the vibrancy or animation needed to grab the attention of the room, which was mostly big-picture thinking, energetic Pioneers. Unconvinced? Millennials are more than two times more engaged when they receive continuous feedback(even tough feedback).
  4. Centrality of the well worker: 40 percent of HR professionals surveyed by SHRM6 indicated that their investment in wellness has increased from last year. Add to that a full 52 percent of respondents that noted an increase in employee participation in wellness activities. Truly healthy workers, those that are thriving both psychologically7 and physically8 are more productive, turned-on employees, plain and simple. And yet, wellness and the management of stress (something that Deloitte’s Greenhouse Experience Team has studied comprehensively), probably won’t look the same for each Business Chemistry type. For example, more Guardians report feeling stressed compared to other Business Chemistry types. So while it may be easier to estimate team stress levels using your own barometer, if you’re managing Guardians, it’s important to look and listen for their signals of strain.
  5. Shrinking physical space demands an uber-versatile employee: Physical spaces can affect how we think, operate, and feel. And yet, square footage of office space per employee is on a long term decline9. What’s more, the trend in many corporate offices today is moving toward something akin to co-working space, where people easily come and go. That means interactions (still one of the primary ways we actually make impressions on others), will become more varied. Collaborative interactions may range from spontaneous encounters on social media, to drive-by hallway interactions, videoconferences, interactions within Apps, to formal conference room meeting events. Developing a hunch of a colleague’s work preferences may be all the more important, yet harder to do. For example the quick, curt responses you get from your new coworker on a collaboration app may lead you to wrongly guess they’re a concision-loving Driver, when in fact they’re an Integrator that uses that very app for the purpose of being brief!
  6. Organizations are now a Network of Teams: The incredible push for organizations to innovate is driving a new organizational structure among high performing companies: a broad set of interconnected, flexible teams. These teams must promptly tackle projects, disband and then move on to new assignments once projects are complete. And while this team focus leads to high-value, mini “networks”-that can provide each of us greater access to information and support-it can also expose us to more interpersonal conflict. By having a common language like Business Chemistry, a Guardian and Pioneer (opposite types) joining a new team can rapidly surface their work styles and strengths, bolstering awareness, trust, and even upping their ‘conflict competence’ down the road.

What other trends are you noticing? Chime in and let us know!

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Selena Rezvani is a Manager in Business Chemistry for Deloitte’s Greenhouse Experience Team. When she’s not delivering Business Chemistry labs, she focuses her time on content development by gathering research that addresses leading practices in learning design, behavioral assessments, and new tools and technologies. An experienced human capital consultant, Selena has more than a decade of experience in culture surveys, leadership training, and inclusion consulting.

This publication contains general information only and Deloitte is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. Deloitte shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person who relies on this publication.
As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.
Copyright © 2016 Deloitte Development LLC. All rights reserved.

1 2016 Workforce Purpose Index: Purpose at Work. LinkedIn (2016).
2 “Future-proofing HR: Bridging the Gap between Employers and Employees.” Mercer (2016).
3 HR’s quest to predict success and get meaningful talent data fuels growth in online assessment industry claims global study. cut-e (2016).
4 Fry, R. (2015). Millennials surpass Gen Xers as the largest generation in US labor force. Pew Research Center.
5 Adkins, A. & Rigoni, B. (2016). Managers: Millennials Want Feedback, but Won’t Ask for It. Gallup.
6 SHRM Survey Findings: 2015 Strategic Benefits— Wellness Initiatives. (Society for Human Resource Management) 2015.
7 Oswald, A.J.; Proto, E.; Sgroi, D. (2014). Happiness and Productivity. Discussion Paper JOLE 3rd Revision, Bonn, Germany.
8 Yu, D. and Harter, J. (2013). In U.S., Engaged Employees Exercise More, Eat Healthier. Gallup.
9 Ponsen, A. (2015). Trends in Square Feet per Office Employee. National Association of Industrial and Office Properties.


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