Trends Shaping the Global Workplace in 2017

Sodexo is the 19th largest employer in the world. They currently employ almost 500,000 people, delivering ‘quality of life services’ to 40,000 client sites in eighty countries. These sites include hospitals, schools and a variety of places where people work. The services they provide range from cafeteria, maintenance, cleaning and everything that touches the employees.

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Sylvia Metayer manages one-third of the employees at Sodexo, for corporate clients. She sees her role as CEO as one in which she serves her team and her clients to focus on ensuring a better day, believing that when people have an improved quality of life, they perform better at work.

Sodexo recently released a report on trends that are shaping the workplace in 2017. To gather the data they pulled approximately 150 experts from a variety of sources to come up with these ten trends. Metayer said she was initially surprised to find that even though the data looked at global trends they found that the issues were the same, regardless of region.

In the study there were 10 global trends that Sodexo found to be shaping the workplace. The 10 trends are the agile organization, the rise of cross-workplaces, employees without borders, the new Gen of Robotics, intergenerational learning, personal branding goes to work, redefining workplace experience, the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, unlocking the potential of millennial talent and Wellness 3.0.

One of the major trends Metayer is looking at is the role of robotics and automation and how it impacts the work itself. While it is prevalent in some fields — such as automotive manufacturing, it still is often thought of as both scary and interesting. She sees its use expanding beyond manufacturing. For example, there is a need to inspect the roofs of buildings, but this is often a dangerous job. Rather than send up a person to complete this hazardous task, send a drone.

One interesting type of automation that Sodexo is utilizing is an automatic till or cash register. They are testing a new generation that will not only automatically produce a total to be paid but also include the nutritional data for a meal and perhaps even link it to data in the workplace gym. This provides additional benefits to the employee/consumer, integrating their experience into more of a journey than just an end result of a financial bill.

The employee/consumer journey is also tied to the concept found in one of the trends in the report — Wellness 3.0. This considers the shift of organizations from their belief that they must ‘take care of the employees’ to one in which companies are looking to empower workers to take control of their own life and wellness. This is with the focus that an organization’s most important capital is their ‘human capital’. Therefore, if people are healthy they will be more productive, and ultimately, a better performing organization.

Today, two things are forcing companies to be agile. All companies, regardless of size, are in a global world. This is driving the level of complexity to new heights. With that in mind, the old hierarchy is not working. Sodexo believes in the importance of being agile and has undergone reorganization in the last eighteen months. This has included disempowering the top levels of the company to push the emphasis to employees and clients. It is often difficult because it is a matter of going from a hierarchy to a lateral format but this is important to be able to work across ecosystems.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • What trends are shaping the global workplace in 2017
  • Why a company must have an EQ rather than an IQ to be agile.
  • The role of society and your organization
  • Ideas of the future of robotics and automation in office spaces
  • What Sylvia thinks the workplace will look like in the next few years
  • What is a ‘talent cliff’?
  • What is personal branding and why is it one of the trends for 2017
  • The hardest thing about transformation in the company
  • Sylvia’s perspective on whether or not full time employment will disappear

Click here to listen to this week’s podcast.

Jacob Morgan is a best-selling author, speaker, and futurist. His new book, The Employee Experience Advantage (Wiley, March 2017) analyzes over 250 global organizations to understand how to create a place where people genuinely want to show up to work. Subscribe to his newsletter or visit TheFutureOrganization.

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