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Emerging Trends in the World of Work, According to the Best of the Best


Jul 19, 2017 | by Eleni Lobene

In 2016, Aon Hewitt’s Assessment Group hosted our first in-person meeting with our Science Advisory Board. If you are trained as an Industrial-Organizational psychologist, you are undoubtedly familiar with the work of these all-stars:

Charles Handler, Fred Oswald, Ann Marie Ryan, and Sheldon Zedeck

We brought these experts in to provide oversight, strategic guidance, and idea generation for our assessments and practices. And, they did. In the process of picking their brains for suggestions and insight, they revealed some fascinating trends that are emerging in the modern workplace. It’s only fair that we share the top 7 with our devoted readers:

  1. TEAMS. Teams are going to become more important in the future. We need to be thinking about how to better compose and select teams. Should we be considering personality, skill set diversity, other factors? All of the above. Also, organizations may start more aggressively pursuing people who want to change culture… people who are watching, open-minded, and willing to make changes.
  2. Healthy Workplaces
  3. HEALTHY WORKPLACES. Creating workplaces that are healthier for employees is going to become more important in the future. In fact, an emphasis may be placed on selecting individuals who might help foster that healthy work environment. From standing desks to outdoor workspaces to healthy snacks… we are only at the beginning of this movement.
  4. Interdisciplinary Selection
  5. INTERDISCIPLINARY SELECTION. Employee selection efforts and scientific approaches are going to become increasingly interdisciplinary and we, as Industrial-Organizational psychologists, may be challenged to look at data in ways we’ve not been trained to traditionally… think psychology + computer science or psychology + data science.
  6. Nature of Jobs and Work
  7. THE NATURE OF JOBS & WORK. The nature of jobs and work is changing… and quickly. We’ve seen changes, such as remote work trends emerge over the years, but we are going to continue to see an evolution. As we approach new environments, keep a keen eye for what might be different from what you’ve seen before, and also what outside-of-the-box work design approaches might catapult a culture or organization.
  8. Diversity
  9. DIVERSITY. This trend is not new. For decades organizations have been aiming to increase diversity of their workforces. But, this trend is also not getting stale. Increasing diversity continues to be an incredibly important and valuable initiative and focus for all organizations: domestic & international;   for-profit & non-profit; government & private… and the list goes on! The assurance that our processes and procedures are fair and valid for all will not cease to be a priority.
  10. Prediction and the Future
  11. PREDICTION & THE FUTURE. We need to be careful to put a wide lens on how we look at our data. Predictive analyses show how things are today, but we need to keep in mind things can change and – at times – we may even want to perpetuate change. The placement of importance on employee engagement is a clear representation of this trend, but what else should we be looking at that we are not yet?
  12. Dustbowl Empiricism
  13. DUSTBOWL EMPIRICISM. Last but not least: dustbowl empiricism… it’s what was once denounced in textbooks but is now gaining tremendous attention. But, how about the “why”? How are we going to defend in court that buying chips and dip on Tuesdays predicts job performance? What we do as Industrial-Organizational psychologists is linked to theory and we should be both proud of that – and protective of it. We specialize in measuring and interpreting findings about people. So, how can we reconcile these trends with what we know about good science?

We look forward to our next annual Science Advisory Board meeting this fall in conjunction with our new cut-e colleagues. To learn about Aon's acquisition of cut-e and what it means for the future of candidate assessment and selection, read our press release.

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