5 Small Business HR Trends in 2016

HR trends come and go. Some are fleeting and some are keepers. We’ve stopped calling everything a “paradigm” and quit trying to create “synergy” (thankfully), but there are a lot of trends that come down the pike worth keeping. As the year progresses, here are some of the top HR trends in 2016 for small businesses to keep on their radar.

1. Outsourcing HR

Few companies can afford a massive HR department with specialists in every category of the function. However, sometimes a specialist is exactly what’s needed. Most companies stopped managing their own 401(k) accounts decades ago. They turned to specialists, giving rise to countless fund management companies that saw better returns on employee contributions. Outside payroll companies have been around forever, leaving that function to the accountants, rather than the HR pros.

If you’re looking for an expert but can’t afford one, it makes sense to join the growing number of organizations that are turning to professional employer organizations. PEOs handle HR-related functions like benefits administration, payroll, employee training, performance evaluations and recruitment. Whatever you may need, there’s probably an app for it – or one on its way. Such software is designed to help you work smarter, not harder. And that’s a benefit for everyone.

2. 24/7 HR

Wait, how do we outsource HR and simultaneously make it 24/7? The trick is automation. Technology allows employees to perform training at their convenience; access benefits administration sites that explain the ins and outs of every employee perk and insurance detail on their own time; and file complaints remotely.

Technology helps HR be more accessible with fewer people. When employees do come to you with questions, they’ve already got a baseline of knowledge. You’ll be answering smarter questions in less time and providing better service with fewer staff. These value-added HR capacities free your time for more important work.

3. Tweet to Compete (or Pin, or Post)

What does your social recruiting strategy look like? It’s not all about LinkedIn anymore. Sure, the network continues to be a great platform for sourcing passive candidates, or candidates in particular industries, like sales. But it’d be a mistake to ignore other forms of social media.

Last year Twitter removed its character limit for direct messages. They also allowed their users to opt in to receive direct messages from anyone – not just the people they follow. It’s a move to break into LinkedIn’s InMail market and possibly becoming the next great hunting ground for staff. In so doing, Twitter has become a more powerful recruitment tool than ever before.

Facebook is also great way to get out the word that you’re hiring, and to an audience that’s sold already: They “like” you, they really “like” you! People are twice as likely to respond to a cold email if they’ve interacted with your brand before. Facebook isn’t necessarily the best place to source candidates across all industries, but it can be effective in areas like retail and healthcare.

If you’re hunting for tech talent, try Stack Overflow or GitHub. Instagram is a good place to source millennials. Looking to recruit more women? Try Pinterest. Put yourself in the mind of your perfect hire when you’re looking to hire. Would you start your search with your already established networks? The answer could be right at your fingertips.

4. Boomerang Employees

They’re back! One of the newest trends in hiring is the boomerang employee. These are staffers who left the company, and then seek re-employment. Some speculate this phenomenon implies millennials are maturing, and may have realized they made a mistake jumping ship. Others point to a tight market. Whatever their motivation, boomerangs are a new class of candidate to consider.

One survey showed 76 percent of employers who used to have a policy against rehiring staff have changed their minds, and now do consider boomerangs to be viable candidates. And it makes sense. For recruiters and managers, it makes life a little easier: Boomerangers know the routines, the benefits, and it’s an easier “sell” to get them in the door. Hiring a known entity also means assurance that the employee is familiar with corporate culture, which 33 percent of HR managers rate as a big plus.

5. Boomers Go Bust

As baby boomers retire, millennials and Gen Z are taking over. While many millennials complain boomers aren’t retiring fast enough to make room for new grads, the trend for younger management is on the rise. Last year millennials surpassed Gen X as the largest generation in the workforce, and they’ll only gain market share over the next 10 years.

Millennials will take over management of companies with their own unique perspective. They aren’t interested in working for the same company for 40 years and then retiring; they want a more flexible work environment; they need and want more mentoring and feedback; and they have unprecedented global access to talent and knowledge. With them at the helm, there’s no doubt that the landscape of the workplace will change.

HR trends may come and go and certainly next year we’ll be discussing the latest, greatest “thing.” The real trick is to look for trends that impact the bottom line, with results that can be measured.

What are some of the HR trends in 2016 that have caught your attention?

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