Evolution in the Workplace

Whereas my two courses last semester centered around lectures and group discussions, this summer I am in a management class where I am able to collaborate with other students on a regular basis. I really enjoy this aspect of the class as it not only facilities networking and idea sharing, but also is a way to make friends with other students in the program.

My class is comprised of students from UST’s many different graduate business tracks, including business communication, software/information technology, and of course the Evening MBA program. The benefit of this diverse student roster is that each student brings a unique perspective and approach to business, which is especially relevant when we discuss how different people and business units might frame situations in the workplace.

Recently, we broke into smaller groups to discuss organizational trends that we are seeing in corporate America. With students representing smaller firms and major global organizations, some of these insights seemed too good not to share:

  • Employers are now strongly encouraging employees to improve their skills or attain specific industry-related levels of achievement.
  • Human resources units seem to be gaining more influence in organizations.
  • Projects are no longer being viewed as department-specific, as they may impact a variety of business units. Instead, cross-functional teams are being developed to tackle specific tasks. There is more lateral coordination occurring across business units.
  • The workforce is aging, with the average age at some companies being closer to retirement than mid-career.
  • Across the entire class, it was estimated that about 75 percent of firms were in the process of restructuring, or had recently done so.
  • Strategic planning, whether for leadership succession or as incentive to stay on track for lower-level one-, three- and five-year goals, is being encouraged to keep organizations on target.
  • The economic crisis is shaping the goals of an organization. Companies have to listen to and react to what the marketplace is willing to pay for at this time.

What changes are you seeing in your industry?

Lindsey Buhrmann is a student in her second semester in the Evening UST MBA program this summer.