How to Embrace the Top 4 Workforce Trends

February 13, 2017 Pete Jansons

Examining the biggest workforce trends emerging in 2017 can help leaders make better decisions for their small businesses. Consider how the following hot topics may affect your organization and what you can do to use them to your small business’s advantage.

Workforce Trend #1: Evaluating the “candidate experience”

In an effort to attract top talent, companies are scrutinizing their hiring processes. Measures range from creating hassle-free applications and notifying job seekers about where they stand to leveling the playing field with bias-reducing, skill-based assessments.

Not only do such efforts increase the chances a candidate will say yes to your job offer, they can also have positive repercussions on the bottom line. According to a recent CareerBuilder study, the majority of candidates who have a bad experience are less likely to buy from a company with whom they’ve had a negative experience during the hiring process. On the other hand, 69 percent of candidates say they are more likely to buy from a company that provided a positive experience. Optimizing your career site to reduce navigation frustration or setting up an automated system to keep in touch with interested parties can pay big dividends for your small business.

Workforce Trend #2: Upping retention efforts

An equally popular buzz phrase this year is “employee experience.” With the average tenure for U.S. employees at 4.2 years, employers are eagerly trying to get workers to stay by figuring out what they want. Popular actions companies are taking include investing more in training, improving work spaces, and giving more rewards. Some are even helping with student debt.

Turnover can be particularly difficult for small businesses. Not only can it cost small businesses in terms of time and money involved in hiring and onboarding, it also has a direct impact on productivity. At a small business, however, it’s easier to gather individual input and tailor benefits to individual needs. Ask your employees which benefits they truly want – no sense wasting money on gym memberships when people would rather have tuition reimbursement. And involve your team members in decisions that shape the culture and environment into something that makes them want to stay.

Workforce Trend #3: Contemplating the value of annual reviews

Accenture, Deloitte, Microsoft, Adobe and Gap are some of the major corporations that already have made annual review changes ranging from fewer questions to complete elimination. Might it be time for your small business to follow suit?

Consider moving toward a coaching culture in which workers receive timely feedback and praise, regularly discuss skill development, and explore growth opportunities at your small business. You’ll raise engagement levels, fix employee mistakes before they become habits, and satisfy Millennials’ desire for instant information.

Workforce Trend #4: Welcoming flexibility

Finally, expect work-life balance to gain even more momentum as the 21st-century progresses. Technology has already allowed many employees to contribute remotely, and advances such as virtual reality and wearable gadgets will undoubtedly add to the trend. Likewise, workers increasingly view a good work-life balance as critical to health, stress reduction and overall satisfaction.

Promoting flexible work options can be a great way for small businesses to gain a recruiting/retention advantage over larger competitors. Establish your reputation now for both immediate and future payoff. Generation Z is beginning to trickle into the workforce and will see little reason why work can’t be performed anywhere at any time as long as it gets done.


Get more work-life balance tips. Check out 7 Ways to Help Employees Achieve Work-Life Balance



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