7 Employment Trends That Will Affect Small Businesses

Are you prepared for these challenges?

Job openings have been at record highs in recent months. Hovering around 6 million.

Businesses are clearly looking to hire, but it appears they’re having trouble finding employees that are the right fit.

This stat fits one of the growing challenges that businesses are facing in regards to employment today. And that trend, along with some others, are probably going to continue in the future.

If you plan on doing hiring for your business in the future and if you plan to have a productive team, we have some key trends to consider.

1. More Data

Most of these trends have already hit us…but they don’t show any signs of changing in the future.

One of the big ones is data.

Think back even 5 or 10 years. Now think about today and the amount of data you deal with.

The number of emails sent. Websites visited. Notes stored online in cloud servers. Online documents and spreadsheets. All the software you use and the data stored in each application.

It’s incredible.

The amount of data will continue to increase for each employee you have. Each employee has a phone, probably a computer of some kind and who knows what else they’ll have in the future.

What you’ll need to do in the future is to make sure you have the tools necessary to allow your team to be efficient as well as being able to parse through and use all the data for making decisions.

There is also a security element. All this data (and transparency, which we’ll talk about in the next point) needs to be secure to protect your company and your team.

2. More Transparency

I was born in 1984. My generation was perhaps the last generation that grew up Pre-Facebook. That hit while I was in the middle of college.

Since Facebook, it seems that a transparency switch was flipped. People started sharing seemingly everything with others. Really for anyone to see.

It’s like humans are wired to want to be transparent with each other.

Now we’re seeing studies, including this one, that show that transparent businesses are successful and the preferred choice amongst the workforce.

This trend will probably continue as younger workers enter the workforce. They’ve grown up Post-Facebook. Transparency has been a part of their entire adult life.

3. More Internal Training

Most people realize that the cost of a university education is reaching incredible heights.

It seems that a tipping point is nearing.

You have successful people publicly claiming that young people shouldn’t go to college. Heck, Peter Thiel is paying kids not to go to college.

At some point it’ll get too expensive for kids to go to college and for adults to go back to college.

This is a challenge, but also an opportunity for employers.

Workers won’t have access to college (too expensive), but many will still want to advance. They’ll want on the job learning opportunities.

For businesses, it means more internal training. The organizations that setup efficient and effective training systems will be in the best position to succeed and that includes being more attractive to the best young workers.

4. High Performing Employees Leave

This one perhaps isn’t that new. But the trend appears to be that employees have opportunities. They aren’t afraid to exit a job. And this is especially true for high performing employees. 25% of high performing employees express desire to work elsewhere within a year. That’s not really more than in the past. But it’s still a concern.

The workplace environment, including the physical and emotional environment, are big factors. The physical office can turn off high performing employees. Open offices have particularly been a point of controversy.

Also a cause for concern is the lack of cultural fit. As small businesses grow it can become a challenge to find people to hire. When the stress to hire increases it can lead to poor cultural fit hirings. That leads to more turnover.

In the future, the businesses that make the work environment comfortable for employees will have an advantage.

5. Office + Remote

One of the really interesting things the last few years has been remote work.

Some employees have loved to work remotely. Telecommuting. Whatever it might be. Not in an office.

But it looks like there is a new trend. It’s not that employees want to entirely work in the office or at home. They want both.

The key for businesses is to provide the tools necessary to accommodate employees where they are most comfortable. That means a great office environment (probably not an open office) and the ability to work from home.

The idea of work hours are getting blurred. Businesses that focus more on results may have an advantage as they allow employees more flexibility as long as they’re getting their work completed.

6. Parents Feel Rushed, Stressed

This comes from an article about working fathers. Fathers are feeling rushed to complete work so they can both provide for their family and spend time with their family.

Parental roles have changed over the last few generations. Both parents are working more than ever. But there is also an increased pressure for family togetherness.

Parents are feeling the stress. They rush to get work done. They also don’t take family time because they fear losing their wages or salary.

Businesses that recognize these stresses and build a good system that allows parents to be parents while still doing good work will have an advantage.

And the science shows that working more than a regular hourly week doesn’t pay anyway.

7. Passion Play

Maybe you’ve heard of the Gig Economy. Or the Freelance Economy.

This has a few elements. Many have talked about employees becoming freelancers and that’s created a new dynamic.

But here is one key insight, people don’t necessarily work gigs for money. They do it for fun or for passion.

Income is very important if you’re hiring freelancers. But it’s also important for them to enjoy the experience.


It seems more difficult than ever for businesses to hire employees that are a good fit and that perform well. There might be a disconnect between employers and employees. Hopefully this little bit of insight can help you as you look to expand in the future. It was helpful for me to do a little research on the topic.

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