business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The Washington Post had a piece over the weekend in which it went to human resources experts and employment lawyers to solicit predictions about how the workplace is likely to change in the coming year ... and here's some of what they came up with.

• The annual pay raise will become less important, as companies wrestle with whether smaller, more frequent bumps in pay will actually create more motivation and reward; this trend would combine with a desire to give star performers greater rewards, but not necessarily tied to the calendar.

• Exotic perks such as video games or yoga classes will become less important to millennials, and "what some companies may add instead — particularly those interested in offering cushy perks but unable to afford them all — are what consultants call 'life planning accounts.' Employers fund these taxable accounts with $500 to $2,500 in cash that workers can use on approved expenses, such as pricey gyms or the closing costs for buying a home. Other prized perks, especially as millennials age, include more paid parental leave and help paying off student loans.

• Adjusted drug policies. As more states legalize marijuana use, companies will have to update their drug testing policies. Not in every case and not for every job, but where and when appropriate.

• "The technology is already out there for employers to track employees' public social media to see if they're about to quit and go to a new job," the Post writes. "Next up could be high tech that lets companies use location data to track the movement of workers. Whether through corporate-issued phone data or sensors on employee badges, human resources consultants say companies are experimenting with how they can put that data to work."

The question that occurs to me is whether millennials will be willing to accept the notion of being tracked in exchange for more frequent raises and recognition, more relevant benefits, and even the ability to smoke a joint from time to time without fear of retribution.

They may not fear loss of privacy; after all, the way they engage on social media suggests that privacy isn't exactly their first priority.

I do think that the general tenor of the story makes an important point - that companies need to adjust even long-held policies to make sure they are apropos to the people they need and want to employ.

It is, I think, an Eye-Opener.
KC's View: