With ongoing social, demographic and economic changes, the business world has to keep evolving to keep up with business trends for 2018. That means proactively meeting challenges while taking advantage of opportunities as they arise. To do this, however, it’s critical that leaders understand what’s happening.
Below are six innovative trends we’ve seen in 2018 that are changing business and impacting leadership:
- Leaders will be increasingly driven by intellectual challenges. While executives will still value remuneration, we’re seeing that they’re also increasingly motivated by intellectual challenges that will enable them to take their organizations to the next level. With the current availability of new technologies, part of this challenge can involve the ability to transform their industry. For example, we’re seeing several healthcare systems leveraging AI to provide faster and more accurate insight into online diagnostics, care processes, treatment options, and patient outcomes.
- Disruptive technology will continue to have an impact. Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning and robotic process automation (RPA) are changing how work is performed. From chatbots and virtual customer assistants that expedite customer service, to RPA that automates numerous back-office processes and AI that recognizes patterns in large datasets and supports high-level decision making, there’s no doubt that advanced technology offers significant value. Organizations will be hiring leaders who understand how these technologies can be implemented in their businesses without losing the valuable human capital they’ve accumulated. As these technologies gain momentum, some workers will either be displaced or have to adapt to changing roles; it will be critical that leaders know how to navigate these types of workforce challenges in a sensitive yet practical manner that doesn’t negatively impact their organization and employer brand.
- Organizations will continue to focus on consumer experience (CX). By 2020, CX will be a more important brand differentiator than price or product. Hiring managers will be looking for executives who understand the value of CX and drive it in everything the organization stands for, whether that’s developing new products and services, focusing on more socially-conscious endeavors or implementing advanced technology to provide a more efficient and personalized consumer experience.
- Live events are growing in importance. Leading organizations are increasingly embracing live interactions instead of social media because it promotes community building and greater brand loyalty. For this reason, businesses want leaders who understand the value of personal interaction, whether that’s focused on consumers or peers. Executives who successfully use their networks and soft skills to communicate with many people online can leverage those same networks and soft skills to facilitate relationship building at events, helping to build the employer brand.
- Values are more important than ever before. According to research by the Havas Group, people overwhelmingly prefer brands that have values that they share. This was evident with the re-branding of New York’s Mount Sinai in 2016 during the largest Atlantic hurricane on record. Many patients and expectant mothers were transferred from affected hospitals to Mount Sinai and the hospital was set up as a live national media hub on CNN, providing visual human interest stories about each baby born during Hurricane Sandy. After the storm, the public viewed Mount Sinai as the best hospital to handle a crisis; this perception helped their brand tremendously.
- Employee engagement will take center stage in recruitment and retention. The State of the Global Workplace report by Gallup warns that 85 percent of employees are not engaged at work, resulting in productivity losses of $7 trillion. These statistics are even more concerning when you consider that today’s employees want to feel like they’re part of something bigger. As such, organizations will be looking for leaders who can develop workforce strategies that focus on engagement throughout the entire lifecycle of an employee — from the moment of a job applicant’s first contact and onboarding to the employee’s work engagement and into the individual’s alumni years.
When you’re aware of these innovative business trends, you can proactively start creating strategies that benefit your organization and your employees. Ultimately, this will benefit you, as well — whether that’s in your current role or in a new one.