The Herman Trend Alert offers up some expected predictions, some insightful ones and some surprising ones for 2009.  Here is one that falls in the expected/not surprising category:

1. Certain Skill Sets Continue to be in Short Supply.

In spite of the global economic slowdown and massive layoffs, certain skill sets are in short supply. All but the most short-sighted employers will continue to respect talented workers in all fields for their contributions.

I don’t think that is surprising at all, but not all companies subscribe to that approach.

Here is an insightful prediction:

3. Fear and Apprehension Reduce Productivity.

As we have written about some months ago, there is a significant percentage of employees who are worried about the future. Unless addressed, this fear will reduce productivity and employee morale. Wise employers will show their appreciation for their workers and reignite passion and excitement with activities and contests that challenge employees to achieve high performance levels.

Absolutely true.  I have seen this bunker mentality developing over the past few months and it definitely impacts productivity in a negative way.  The consistent “depression” drumbeat of the hyperbolic mainstream media doesn’t help.

And here’s one that will make recent Gen Y grads groan:

10. Older Workers will be Particularly Valued this Year.

To get the work done without resorting to hiring expensive contract help, some employers will begin mining the rolls of their retired workers and hiring them back on a part time basis. These seasoned professionals have a lot to offer their former employers. The companies will probably need to conduct less training and most certainly will have a more reliable workforce than recruiting Millennials.

What do you think of that last line?  I would say that is a bit of a shot, and not a fair one at that.  I understand the approach of rehiring retired workers and it that is a valid approach.  However, I have seen companies that are set in their ways – the energy, vitality has almost disappeared from their company.  The culture has settled into this lethargic, phlegmatic style…and it is dangerous in a slow economy.

My experience has been that young workers help change this culture.  They bring energy, ideas and, well, a fresh approach.  I’ve seen younger workers invigorate a stale company.  Yes, you have to train young employees, but I think this prediction greatly discounts the upside of hiring Millennials in this economy.

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