Allen Baler: How the Work Environment Will Change in 2016

Allen Baler 2016 business trends

Earlier this year, there were many mentions in the news and on social media regarding the Back to the Future films. That’s because in the second installment of the movie trilogy, made in 1989, “Doc” Brown and Marty McFly travel forward in time to 2015 in an attempt to keep Marty’s future son from going to jail.


Those Back to the Future references reminded me of the scenes in which Biff Tannen uses an almanac containing the results of sporting events over a 50-year period to get rich from gambling.


I think we’d all like to know what’s coming around the bend in the business world. Undoubtedly, each of us would prepare for it and try to profit from it. While we can’t know exactly what’s going to happen, we can see trends developing and can set our companies up to benefit from them.


Let’s take a look at three business trends the experts see developing in 2016:


  • Societal Impact. As more and more baby boomers retire (3.6 million in 2016, according to Forbes) and more people from younger generations become managers, enter the workforce and increase their consumer spending, a heavier emphasis will be placed on businesses’ willingness to positively impact society. As a business owner, you still have to focus on the bottom line. But also seek ways to communicate how your company is benefiting society, because that’s what these younger generations want to see. That effort will help you gain top talent and more customers.


  • Workplace Flexibility. This is becoming one of the most important aspects in job searches for both older and younger employees. Many workers are willing to earn somewhat less money if it means they have more control over when and where they do their work. If you can’t trust an employee to do a great job under those circumstances, you probably have the wrong employee. Continue to demand performance excellence from your employees, but consider giving them more leeway when it comes to their work/life balance and their preferred workplace.


  • Generation Z Employees. The first wave of young people born between 1994 and 2010 will enter the workforce during 2016. Far more tech savvy than your older employees, they are also known for their loyalty and flexibility. Equally important is their desire for mentors who can help them advance their careers. Find some sharp Generation Z workers, place them under the direction of your millennials and Gen X’ers, and watch them flourish at pay rates that are affordable for your business. It won’t take long until you discover which ones are keepers.


Around this time next year, take a look back to see if the efforts you made to benefit from anticipated trends has paid off. Then travel back to the future to do it again for 2017.

Allen Baler is a leading entrepreneur and Harvard grad. Allen Baler is a Partner in 4Patriots LLC, based in Nashville.

Disclaimer: This blog post is not a substitute for the sound advice of a business professional with expertise in the subject matter discussed. Please seek appropriate counsel on what strategies make sense for your business.


Photo credit: Seattle Municipal Archives / /CC BY