2012 Human Trends That Threaten Positive Workplace Culture

Companies and nonprofits are attending to their culture in greater numbers than ever.  Inspiring stories from companies like Zappos are making their way around social media circles. Further, unless you’ve been living under a rock you know that younger workers have less tolerance for the workplace shenanigans of bullies and disagreeable coworkers that others have just put up with for years.  If we could all start from the same point, employees would have a wonderful choice of working in companies where respect and quality are governing values. Unfortunately, the business climate is bobbing and weaving and a number of trends will make things worse for you if you do nothing. If you’re an HR Professional and having a hard time convincing senior management to pay attention, here are some thoughts about positive culture-busting trends.

2012 Human trends

  1. Continued, rapid business change – if you keep doing the same thing you’re losing ground.
  2. Business mistakes are publicized instantly – think Netflix, News of the World. Social media can be brutal.
  3. Increasing worker stress – financial uncertainty, care-giving, lean staff and tougher goals are weighing on employee minds.
  4. Emphasis on efficiency and productivity – employee absenteeism and presenteeism (physically here but mentally elsewhere) are working against your efforts to keep costs down.
  5. Business regulation – there is some recognition that over-regulation can be anti-business but the Healthy Workplace Bill is coming.  It’s new legislation which some conservatives will fight but it started because companies ignored brutal, ongoing employee targeting that had a direct relationship to their mental health.
  6. Workplace bullying websites abound – your employees have options for free advice of how to react to workplace bullying in your company and how to seek legal advice.
  7. Increased employee litigation – this is just a fact of doing business, if you lose touch with disgruntled employees or you aren’t listening trouble will find you.
  8. A third of employees are ready to move when economy improves – because your employees are afraid to move now doesn’t mean they are thinking about it.
  9. Increasing cultural diversity – inclusion requires preparing the ground. Employees unencumbered by things like respect and company no-tolerance stance on slurs, etc., can be brutal. Sexual orientation discrimination claims are on the rise.
  10. Employees no longer work in the same office – homes, virtual space, remote locations create challenges for creating a united workplace culture.
  11. Multiple generations working together – you’re adding generations X, Y, and Z to established workers.  Do you pay attention to culture clash?
  12. Increasing disparity between high and low employees’ disposable income – your lower-income employees are borrowing, taking money from 401(k)s, and even if they’ve had raises, medical costs and other prices have eroded disposable income.
  13. Decline in civility, everywhere – Sorry to say this but arguing, short tempers and narcissism are on the rise.  Positive culture articulation is an important counter-point.

Good Luck!!

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