Ping Pong Table
StartupStockPhotos / Pixabay

As 2018 kicks off, it’s hard not to think about what’s to come in the year ahead. I’ve been founding companies for almost 25 years now, across multiple sectors including startups in healthcare, finance and nonprofit, and I’m always thinking about what’s next.

As the co-founder and CEO of Greenlight Guru, I want to be bolder with our office culture and tighten our leadership skills. Here are some trends I’ve identified that will have an impact on the year ahead.

The “industry cloud” arrives.

Rather than the usual general-purpose cloud solutions so commonly used today, the “industry cloud” will make a significant splash in 2018. With so many legacy “one-size-fits-all” cloud solutions on the market, users are looking for services that provide targeted solutions for individual industries. Enter, the industry cloud. Companies that thrive in a single market with experienced teams and decades of industry and subject matter expertise are able to provide more value along with less implementation and customization hassle than general purpose solutions. More niche, hyper-focused solutions are in high demand now, and companies are responding by creating smarter solutions to meet those demands.

Fluffy office perks will be a thing of the past.

Office perks are always a hot topic in the tech world. However, more companies realize that fluffy office culture doesn’t actually attract the best talent or cultivate the highest performing team. Those perks you think your employees want can actually be more distracting and detrimental to productivity. To really reap the benefits of the “perk” in the first place, find out what motivates employees. Ping-pong tables and nap rooms will move out and more meaningful perks will take their place. Companies that attract the most talented and passionate teams will do it with job descriptions and mission statements that inspire a deep sense of purpose.

Young employees sidestep large corporations for smaller companies.

While it seems like a logical career move to work at a larger corporation with more resources for higher salaries, more paid time off and a spacious office, I see a trend occurring where people want to work at smaller companies. According to the 2017 Aflac Small Business Happiness Report, employees are moving toward smaller businesses and jobs that have meaning and impact. The new generation of employees want to feel they are doing something beneficial for the world at large. One could say the current workforce is more enlightened and will be drawn toward a mission, a challenge and an idea with room to grow. Job candidates are starting to demand a higher quality of life, and the top tier talent is going to seek out smaller, more focused organizations that align with their core values.

Quality is the new black.

In 2018, I believe quality will become a business accelerator. Quality products lead to better advancements and better lives, which was the driver of the most recent product launch we did at Greenlight Guru. In many industries, like medical devices, there has been a hesitation to adopt new techniques or technologies because of the old mentality of, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. We have recently found many medical device companies adopting our quality management system to move from simply checking the compliance box to going above and beyond in creating a quality product. Industries are going to start shifting focus from the most unique new products, to placing importance on the best quality products instead. The same goes for building a business. When you start a company, it can be tempting to cater to as many customers as you can to build your following at the beginning. However, it’s in a business owner’s best interest to spend time creating a quality organization rather than growing as quick as possible.

If you’re just starting a business, or need a boost in office morale, keep these ideas in mind when building your strategy for the coming year. Make 2018 your most successful year yet, by making quality a priority, finding your niche, honing in on smaller teams and creating an office culture that resonates with employees.