Where will 2018 take us?

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As business owners, how can we truly tell what the future holds for us? The end of a calendar year is a great time to reflect and consider what the next year brings. However, when it comes to human beings there are always those great surprises that we can never predict… but we are also creatures of habits and trends. There is no denying that change and evolution are happening around us all the time, but when I pause to reflect, I also believe that many of our basic human needs remain the same. The common human factors we see at Everest still focus on some primary principles. As they say – the more we change, the more we stay the same!

Let’s talk about basic human interaction. Leaders who encourage personal connections will have more committed, satisfied and productive workers. It makes perfect sense doesn’t it – but sadly what we see more and more of, are leaders who are using technology to avoid personal and face-to-face conversations. Research suggests that working remotely is forging ahead, but at what risk? How can you as a leader ensure you have in-person conversations when some of your team are operating remotely? As the drive for technology increases in 2018 and beyond, remember human interaction is a must.

While we’re on the subject of technology – what about artificial intelligence? The topic with the biggest buzz in HR circles is AI because there is both excitement and fear around the topic as it relates to how we do our jobs. Almost every new device and service will contain AI in the next few years. Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple etc are there already. Chatbots, which are fuelled by AI, will continue to permeate the workplace in 2018. AI programmes are expected to save companies millions in salaries annually and efficiency gains are predicted to be over 30 percent per annum. What could that mean to your business and your team?

The next topic I believe businesses will need to start having some real conversations around is financial and mental wellness. A significant portion of NZ employees live pay check to pay check. Employees are struggling and it is affecting their health. Workers are stressed out, burned out and it’s affecting not only their productivity but their job satisfaction. Every day we talk with clients with staff who have high levels of stress and anxiety disorders which is having a major impact. Many report that financial stress affects their job performance and makes them feel physically ill and depressed. Mental health, which has long been a stigma in the workplace, is now becoming something that is more common and accepted by leaders. Great leaders will already be thinking about how they can support their employees to navigate financial stressors and developing support such as access to counselling, mental health toolkits and strategies to de-stigmatise mental health in the workplace. What can you do in your workplace?

As we sign off for the year, I would like to plant a few seeds of thought for you. Human beings flourish in positive environments. Human being flourish and respond to kindness, humanity, generosity, support, happiness, caring and many other positive interactions. I would love to think that 2018 may bring more of those characteristics in our workplaces so that we may all benefit! Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all the team at Everest. We look forward to seeing you in 2018!

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About Author

Senga Allen

Human Resource specialist and managing director, Everest Group Ltd Waikato HR Specialists www.everestgroup.co.nz

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