Many of us are so focused on what we need to get done on a given day at work and home, that we overlook what’s changing around us.
Today, I am going to share five trends that are on my radar and should be on yours, too. Knowing about them will help you consider how they will affect your life and what shifts you may need to make to stay on top of your game.
1. The Membership Economy is taking off.
Are you a member of Amazon Prime, Costco or Netflix?
Chances are you are going to become a member of a lot more businesses. Nimble companies that focus on ongoing, formal relationships with customers rather than one-time transactions are thriving. I heard an interview on XM with Robbie Kellman Baxter, author of The Membership Economy, and she said the concept of membership will expand into varied industries as businesses try to build loyalty. For example, she said the car wash business may soon sell memberships. I have noticed that wax services and massage companies are using the membership model. So are wine clubs and shave clubs.
Baxter says the reason the membership economy is taking off now is because “the model has been transformed and perfected through massive changes in technology.”
For the customer, it means we get the benefits of being a member such as monthly car wash service for a discounted price. It also means if we want to sell a service or product, the membership model might be one we should consider.
2. Stress busters are hot.
As a society, we are stressed out to the max. Study after study looks at stress levels of the different generations and the research leads to one conclusion: We need to chill out.
Our stress levels are affecting our productivity, our health, our relationships – and even our sex drives.
Enter stress busters. The category includes everything from fidget spinners to meditation apps to gyms that offer stretching classes to stress management courses. There are even new occupation called stress managers and stress reduction experts.
Within organizations, departments including human resources and training are addressing stress management. Companies are learning some stress on employees is good, but too much stress is not, which is why smart employers are teaching workers how to deal with stressors such as “how to have those difficult conversations and how to embrace disruption.”
Ian Kelleher, co-author of “Neuroteach: Brain Science and the Future of Education” told CLOmedia.com that he believes companies and individuals who thrive will not only manage stress levels but channel stress in positive ways.
“There’s a sweet spot in the middle where some degree of stress is good if you link stress with challenge — the challenge that you can do but that is hard to do” said Kelleher. “So some stress and level of engagement is crucial for getting performance.”
3. Artificial Intelligence is moving into the workplace.
By now, most of us have heard about artificial intelligence and are aware that machines that simulate human intelligence will be a big part of our future. Artificial intelligence is being incorporated into facial recognition, self-driving cars and tech-enabled personal assistants. Artificial intelligence also is swiftly remaking the world of work.
In training. Get ready for personal training at work. With AI, machine learning organizes and recommends learning content based on who you are and what it understands you are interested in. Think of Spotify for music or Netflix for movies. Kelly Palmer, author of The Employee Experience, says based on artificial intelligence, you get a daily feed of new learning content to consider and you get recommended learning pathways based what the system is learning about you.
In hiring. the use of AI and algorithms in hiring decisions has grown dramatically. It its 2018 workplace predictions, Gartner, the largest research and advisory firm in the world, said companies need to use this tool carefully because of the algorithmic bias. “While these algorithms have promise in terms of improving quality and efficiency in the hiring process, they also run the risk of decreasing diversity in the workforce by replicating what already exists within the company.”
In coaching. Butterfly.ai, based in New York, has developed and automated a tool for young managers in need of on-the-spot coaching. The app features a self-learning bot named Felix, who delivers custom tips and content and provides short, iterative feedback directly to managers. It can also be programmed to alert managers and HR if they are in need of additional support.
4. Retargeting is getting more advanced.
Let’s say you visit a website, browse around a little, click on a cool pet toy and then close out before making a purchase. The next day, an ad for that toy is on your Facebook page and on a few other sites you visit. That practice is called retargeted advertising and it’s getting increasingly more advanced. It’s can feel creepy to the consumer but brands are finding it is effective. One in five marketers now having a dedicated budget for retargeting and half of overall retailers said they will spend more money on retargeting in the next six months, according to Invesp, a site for marketing professionals.
Here’s the big reason why: Website visitors who are retargeted with display ads are three times more likely to click on your ad than people who haven’t interacted with your business before. And, these visitors who are retargeted are 70 percent more likely to convert (make a purchase) on the retailer’s website.
As a consumer, it will be more difficult to resist purchasing that cool pet toy. As a brand, it will be easier to get in front of a potential buyer. The good news for the consumer is that sometimes, the retargeted ad comes with a special offer that sweetens the deal.
5. Job descriptions and titles are changing.
This morning I received a press release from a PR guy who called himself a “Thought Leadership Specialist.” Last week I received an email from a human resource director who called herself a “Chief People Officer.” And then there’s the newest title for training professionals: “Chief Learning Architect.” How we describe what we do and what we call ourselves can position us as current, or completely outdated.
As jobs are being redefined, titles are beginning to reflect that evolution. A title change could suggest an employee has a more strategic role in the company. Employees need to be sure they stay on top on the skills their new titles reflect.
According to Pearl Meyer & Partners, a compensation consultancy based in New York City, one-quarter of employees are allowed some latitude in determining their title. So, here’s my recommendation: Know the buzzwords in your profession and incorporate them into your title when possible. For example, in digital the words “user experience” is a big buzzword. A digital designer may want to call himself a “User experience designer” also known as a UX Designer.
Times are changing, but keeping up with trends goes a long way toward ensuring your personal brand, or your business are using the changes to your benefit.