5 Megatrends That Will Change the Face of Business in 2017

The global technology revolution has changed the world. Self-driving cars, missions to Mars, advances in medicine and robots powered by artificial intelligence are no longer just a pipe dream. While technology has undoubtedly helped accelerate these innovations, these advances did not happen on their own. The driving force behind every single innovation has been human(s) - employees who believed in the organization's vision, and were empowered to do the best work of their lives.

Today, every organization is clamoring for employees who are fully committed to their company's mission and willing to invest discretionary energy to turn pipe dreams into reality. However, statistics show it's near impossible to find such employees and even harder to retain them. So, what can organizations do? Where do they find committed employees? How do they retain, engage and inspire them to reach their fullest potential?

The answer is simple - in their own organization.

As we head into 2017, let's not forget, today, the onus to provide a positive employee experience is on the organization. In order to be successful, companies need to win the hearts and minds of employees. They need to create experiences where employees feel appreciated and energized to invest their entire selves into the workplace. If employees experience higher levels of humanity at work, they tend to perform better, are more likely to exert extra effort at their jobs, are less likely to quit companies and are more likely to be vested in an organization's success.

Forward-leaning organizations have long foreseen the human revolution in business - the perfect storm of fundamental changes in the workforce combined with technologies to empower HR leaders and people. Forward-thinking organizations are looking past the old way of thinking and building new ways to empower and inspire today's global, modern workforce.

It's not about asking how to get more from employees. Rather, how to give more - to provide a more human employee experience that strengthens connections between people and teams, and, ultimately, drives stronger employee and company performance.

As we look ahead to the future, these 5 trends are catalysts toward the new way of thinking and catapulting organizations toward long-term, sustained growth.

1) Continuous Conversations and Feedback

Annual performance reviews are an outdated model - a relic of old HR processes. HR is moving toward continuous conversations. These ongoing "check-ins" align employees behind organization priorities. Built within the conversations is employee feedback. The heavier concentration for feedback will naturally veer toward the positive side, which is the proven way to elevate performance and meet employees' higher-level needs.

Crowdsourced recognition is a critical component of that positive feedback - empowering the entire company to recognize great achievements and behaviors. It also provides managers with data points throughout the year to reinforce the type of performance the company seeks. It turns performance management into a more frequent, ongoing, and more natural, human exercise - building trust with organizational leaders and optimizing performance.

2) Crowdsourced Reward and Pay

HR is heading toward the re-architecting of pay. The new model leverages the "crowd" to determine where the money flows, matching reward with performance to unify and direct people toward company priorities. According to joint research by the Society for Human Resources Professionals (SHRM) and Globoforce, organizations that dedicate 1 percent or more of payroll toward social recognition are more likely to report greater impacts on financial outcomes.

3) Team Engagement

When people are part of a winning, performance-driven team, stronger results and connections within a company occur. Team engagement is a critical component of the employee experience, higher in importance than both individual and company engagement. Today's companies are a series of teams - where the work happens on a daily basis and where the strongest employee connections are built. By uncovering and recognizing individual strengths, the team is more empowered and efficient as people are able to thrive with their personal skills and abilities.

4) The New Role of a Coach

The role of the manager is fundamentally changing from command and control to inspire and empower. Decades of research has long proven the need for managers and leaders to provide higher levels of empathy toward employees - with the aim to develop and grow their skills and strengths. Forward-thinking companies around the world are driving this shift toward contemporary management. It's moving toward a more human approach where managers become mentors to their people and teams - to coach, teach, and guide. It's also the underlying foundation to make continuous conversations and feedback possible - the human element and interaction that gives meaning to words and meaning to work.

5) HR as Culture Facilitator

The megatrends re-shaping business and management puts HR in the position as coach to the entire organization. HR as the facilitator of the culture becomes the enabler to drive a more human workplace and positive employee experience, breaking down past bureaucracies.

With the amount of data available now, HR is shifting toward cognitive HR which allows organizations to explore employee data to predict outcomes and share valuable insights. For example, social recognition data can help generate so many data points including the core values that are key to an organization, employee productivity and morale, cross-functional teams, and high potential employees, to name a few.

These shifts can only be successful with widespread adoption and a philosophical shift within an organization.

Progress is only possible with a new mindset - to lead with empathy, not fear, and to move ahead and allow employees to explore new game-changing ideas. Many companies are shifting to a "fail fast" approach - a lean organization that drives continual, incremental wins. This approach gives employees more empowerment and autonomy to align their work endeavors toward ideas and projects that can fundamentally change a company's upward trajectory.

Investment in employees pays off exponentially. Be thankful and appreciative of employees. Be the change agent who creates a more positive workplace, fosters better teamwork, coaches and guides employees, and rewards them for their contributions.