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Annual 10 Workplace Trends

The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) recently announced its sixth annual Top 10 Workplace Trends list. The Top 10 Workplace Trends address complex issues that pose challenges for business. These are issues that are critical to the work of I-O psychologists. They include:

10. Work-life balance interventions. Work-life balance continues to play an important role in modern organizations. Technological communication mediums (e.g., social media, emails, instant messaging) blur the line between work and family. Employees must often face difficult decisions with the competing demands from home and work. Organizations are becoming extremely concerned with the long-term impact of work-family balance on a variety of outcomes such as: productivity, attitudes, and mental health. I-O psychologists can help organizations create evidence-based interventions to help employees manage multiple roles such as: telework, flexible work schedules, and family-oriented programs.

9. Creating agile organizations. Organizations need to be able to move quickly and easily to grow. Characteristics of agile organizations include: clarity with strategic objectives, alignment of organizational goals, and increased efficacy. To be agile, organizations must be comfortable with rapidly adapting and learning from failures. I-O psychologists can help to transform traditional organizations into agile organizations with change management and organizational development. 

8. Data visualization and communication. Organizations often have many sources of data to make sound, data-driven decisions. However, interpretability of such data can be difficult. Data visualization can assist with interpretation of data and help organizations with decision-making. I-O psychologists can help organizations use large amounts of data through the use to data visualization techniques (i.e. best practices for displaying, visualizing, and communicating statistical evidence) to make evidence-based decisions.

7. The changing nature of work. The workplace continues to be impacted by advances in technology. Technology allows employees to constantly be connected to their work and provides them with the opportunity to perform their jobs from anywhere—oftentimes removing the requirement of offices and traditional work hours. Technological advances also come with different skills needed to perform jobs. I-O psychologists will play a pivotal role in this transformation by helping organizations define skills need to perform jobs.

6. Automation of jobs and tasks. Automation will reshape jobs by impacting the specific tasks of jobs. This will change the workforce by allowing employees to learn new skills to remain relevant in the workforce where tasks have been automated. I-O psychologists working in the areas of selection, training, and compensation can help organizations clearly define automated processes. 

5. Sexual harassment: #MeToo at work. The #MeToo movement provides an opportunity for organizations to invest resources into creating more inclusive, respectful workplaces; to promote and train employees on appropriate workplace conduct; and to hold employees accountable for their negative behavior. I-O psychologists that work in the areas of workplace culture and climate, gender issues, workplace safety, and legal issues can help organizations in developing preventative interventions in the workplace. 

4. “Gig economy” – Contract work. Organizations are becoming increasingly dependent on contract workers as opposed to full-time employees. Gig workers will need to market their skills and coworking spaces will increase. I-O psychologists can assist organizations with designing interventions to motivate and manage performance of freelancers. 

3. Working with big data. Big data is becoming increasingly available and can be used to inform business strategy and initiatives. I-O psychologists are well-versed in individual behavior, research methods, and analysis. They can play a key role in determining the types of data to collect, the types of questions to ask, and the types of hypotheses to present.

2. Diversity, inclusion, and equity. Today’s workforce demands inclusion and equity in the workplace. I-O psychologists can help organizations by developing unbiased selection and testing practices and analyzing outcomes related to diversity and inclusion.

1. Artificial intelligence and machine learning.  Artificial intelligence and machine learning are becoming increasingly more common. I-O psychologists can help organizations use data collected from artificial intelligence and machine learning and interpret results. They can also help in understanding how employees react to AI “coworkers” through attitude surveys. In addition, I-O psychologists can help to develop interventions to help employees adapt to the change.