January 8, 2019
Last year we saw businesses reporting their gender pay gap, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) taking effect, speculation on how Brexit will impact jobs and further impact on how technology is changing the way we work. Looking forward to the year ahead, Gartner has pulled together a fresh set of workplace predictions for the coming year. This includes the demise of employee surveys as the adoption of sophisticated listening tools accelerates; precious little progress in closing the gender pay gap, but the evolution of discrepancies in pay scales between new hires and existing employees; the rise and rise of the #MeToo movement, which could lead to more senior executives being ousted in 2019 than in 2018; and new technologies designed to nudge workers into action.
- #MeToo will accelerate
More executives will be ousted in 2019 than identified and reported in 2018. This year, has been about businesses responding to complaints and actively removing individuals perpetrating bad behavior from the company.
Next year, we will see increasing transparency across organizations, which will led to a new level of proactivity. Business leaders will seek to identify issues and will communicate actions across the business to not only build confidence for employees but also to minimize risk of further issues. This proactivity will lead to just as much, if not more, senior executives being ousted for sexual harassment allegations and the company response will shift from “we didn’t know” to “we actively looked for bad behavior and handled it directly.”
- More companies will use non-traditional listening tools
Employee surveys are fading away as more companies begin to utilize listening tools. This includes activity such as email scraping, monitoring and tracking workspace usage, and aggregation of data to obtain better insights around employee sentiment about their workplace and/or problems that leaders need to address.
We find that almost 50% of employees are accepting of employers tracking them if their employer clearly explains to them the purpose, approach, and rationale around why they are doing so. The key to employee acceptance is for employers to explain to employees how the tools work, why they are being used and how it will make their job better. Understanding how their workforce feels about certain things, for instance the culture of the organization, the physical surroundings, etc. will enable leaders to take action, at both the macro and micro level.
- Workplace technologies will now nudge people to action
In 2019, workplace technologies will go beyond observation and start nudging individuals into action. These technologies can take the form of a simple dashboard that could send an email nudge that helps employees be more effective; a desk that reminds a person to get up a take a walk; an application that notifies employees when they have paid time off left to use and when to the ideal time is to use it according to their calendar.
- Pay issues and gender ratios will remain the same
2018 saw a lot of focus on pay equity issues, between genders but also CEOs and their employees. In fact, the EU implemented a new policy approach to report the gender pay gap within organizations. This focus on pay equity led many organizations to try to address the issue, however, many of these companies made one-time adjustments to improve gender pay disparities. Unfortunately, these one-off changes will not prevent pay gaps from reoccurring. To do that, organizations must make an ongoing commitment to integrate pay equity analysis as a key process of the rewards function.
- Different wages for new hires vs. current employees
In last quarter’s Global Talent Monitor Report, we saw how employees in the UK have above-average perceptions of pay value, fairness and equity. These employees expect a 4.8% increase in base pay in 2019 and a 5.3% increase in bonus pay this year. However, alongside this, UK employee’s intent to stay their role has fallen sharply over the last year. Organizations that experience turnover will likely have to increase pay in order to attract highly sought after talent; however, current employees will not see the same compensation increases.
Brian Kropp is group vice president of Gartner’s HR practice