Forward Thinking

Three Workforce Mega-Trends for 2017

How will they affect the meetings industry — and you?

Conferences are about people first and content second. You need to determine who you’re designing for (target audience) before you address what (content) and how (experience design). Here are three workforce mega-trends that I believe will significantly affect our future conference audiences:

1JOB HOPPING Many associations wonder if the up-and-coming generations will be joiners or attenders. The majority of workforce-trend predictions I researched cite the increase in job- and career-hopping as a sharply growing phenomenon. Some experts say that the next generation is less loyal and impatient; others say they’re just more ambitious than we old-timers. As this unfolds, it will likely take the next generation a bit longer to find a profession in which they want to plant roots.

What it means for you: The more you are able to demonstrate that your profession holds promise for worth-while work, upward mobility, social responsibility, and work/life balance, the greater your chances are for earn-ing their career vote. If you don’t do it already, consider a mentor program for first-timers and solo (only person from that organization) attendees.

2. A RISE IN GIG WORKERS According to Forbes, by 2020, 50 percent of the U.S. workforce will be independent, freelance, and on-demand workers. Gig workers come in many varieties, including solopreneurs, independent contractors, project specialists, and even consultants like me.

What it means for you: Gig workers can be extremely influential. In some cases, it’s hard to categorize “gigsters” as practitioners or suppliers. They are less likely to pay full freight to attend a premium conference experience. Their decision to attend will be affected by how many of their decision-making customers are participating and whether they are selected to present.

3. THE IMPACT OF HUMALOGYDigital consulting firm Future Point of View’s founding partner, Scott Klososky, coined the term “humanology” to describe the blending of humans and technology. “Most processes and actions involve some human effort that is aided by technology,” Klososky said. “The trick is figuring out how much human effort vs. technology effort needs to be used to maximize the efficiency of the action.” Nearly all meaningful innovation and disruption in your profession will have an impact on how the workforce evolves and the skills needed to succeed.

What it means for you: This concept is significantly more strategic than technology conversations at most conferences. Instead of evaluating shiny objects or speaking about emerging trends like big data, virtual reality, or the Internet of Things (IoT), Humalogy takes a more practical approach to integrating technology for smart bets and market leadership. Work and life are transforming at a rapid rate. Helping your customers plan for the complex changes that are coming puts you ahead of the pack.

 

Dave Lutz, CMP

Dave Lutz, CMP, is managing director of Velvet Chainsaw Consulting.