3 HR Trends to Utilize in 2018

Photo credit Charlie Gray (Photo and logo courtesy of Gray Scalable)

President and Co-Founder of Gray Scalable, Charlie Gray, shares some HR tips and trends of the year, and the ones from 2017 you ought to leave behind.


What HR trends, negative and positive, did you see in 2017?

Technology will continue to grow as every company, whether they identify as one or not, will become a 'tech/software company' in order to compete in the local or global marketplace. The reverse is true for traditional startups and tech companies. They hire more low-level workers as they grow. For example, an Amazon warehouse is like a factory that employs thousands of people, yet they still identify as and consider themselves a tech company. In addition, technology is enabling entire industries to employ remote workers. Nothing replaces face time with a co-worker, but there is so much innovation and reliable technology in the online video, telecom world. The technology has made it easier for working remotely, and in some cases, cheaper for companies as there isn't as much brick and mortar investment.


What HR trends do you believe need to be left in 2017? 

Focusing on fringe benefits over fundamental employee needs — down with ball pits, up with mentorship. And, focusing on rules over humans. HR has somewhat, but not entirely, taken unfair flack over the last year as the enemy of employees who are being harassed or who are in other tough situations. Employees feel they're only there to protect the company and will follow policies while ignoring the heart of the issue. It's time for HR to make it clear that they value personnel over handbooks, and revisit the tone and approach to their policies.


What are the 3 HR trends small business should definitely utilize or be aware of in 2018? 

  1. 2018: The Year of the Employee? Trust in leadership seems to be trending down, and changing jobs more frequently is becoming more normal. Companies will have to work harder to retain their best people. While low business confidence, which is real despite pundits' statements or stock market readings, may lead to more layoffs and cautious growth plans, investments in critical talent will increase.                                                                                                                                         
  2. HR & People Science Will Continue to Gain Influence. The continuing advancement and awareness of 'people science' or HR analytics is giving new credibility to leaders who embrace it. It also helps that some startup founders recognize that human resources are not just for welcoming new hires, planning company events, and writing PIPs. This is also putting some pressure on incumbents in these positions to get up to speed with progressive people analytics and strategic HR.                                                                                                                                                                
  3. Growth in HR Tech Will Shift. The HR tech market is crowded! According to Talent Tech Labs Ecosystem, we’ll see some distinct winners emerge this year, some acquisitions, and others will likely drop out. Many people founding and managing HR companies have little to no experience with recruiting or HR, and while some could still succeed despite that, not all of them will.


Should small businesses adapt to these HR trends? How can they?  

Small businesses should play to their strengths — usually that’s flexibility, not the ability to spend a lot. They should poll their employees and focus on what matters most to their population and create employee-friendly policies while it’s still easy to tweak and adjust as needed. It’s important to think seriously about scale though. It’s a lot more fun to expand a policy than to cut it down. Ultimately employees want to feel cared for, so small businesses can take advantage of how personally they know everyone to create policies that generate engagement and retention.

Sample policies that work best are: flexibility in how time off is used, time for team field trips [bonding], annual retreats, flexible gym reimbursement/coverages [not just gyms, but rock climbing, spin classes, dance classes, etc.], offering coaching services for managers [small businesses often don’t have a lot of in-house mentorship opportunities]. Covering as much as you can around medical insurance also offers a lot of bang for its buck. Separate from benefits, there’s also the everyday employee experience [perks]. I’d say that making sure the majority of seats are near windows, versus having all offices next to windows with general employees in the center, has as much an impact as any other benefit.


What kind of HR solutions does Gray Scalable provide? 

Gray Scalable provides customized recruiting services, human resource solutions and training for startup and growth-stage tech companies in the New York City area and other locations including Southern California. Additionally, Gray Scalable works with pre-Series A to post-IPO companies to help build their people teams and develop customized programs that engage employees and advance culture.


How do these solutions differ from others? 

Gray Scalable differentiates itself by embedding its team members on site to manage all candidate sourcing channels and support every stage of the recruiting funnel. What really makes Gray Scalable stand out is providing support on site through every stage of the recruiting funnel, from sourcing the best candidates to extending an offer. The full-cycle, hands-on approach uniquely positions the company so that its goals are strategically aligned with each of its client’s goals. This process is designed to solve short-term hiring needs while also building the best system, process and infrastructure for long-term success.


How can small businesses recruit and keep great talent in 2018? 

To keep great talent praise should be given as frequently as possible, and there are a couple ways to make it extra meaningful:

  • Make sure it's specific, rather than a general 'great job.'
  • Make it public. For example: a shout out in a team meeting or an email where others are copied are great ways to make someone feel recognized for their good work. However, keep in mind that some individuals don't like to be recognized publicly and you never want to embarrass anyone. 
  • A raise or bonus is a great way to acknowledge sustained good work. But, if you want to give kudos or some spot-appreciation, you can also reward people with development opportunities, i.e. opportunities to learn new skills, take the lead on an exciting project, present their work to leadership or at a large team meeting, etc. Make sure you let them know why you chose them. It’ll help reinforce whatever they’re doing that’s going well.
  • Lastly, if someone goes above and beyond, make sure you cover their food and transportation costs that day and, if you can, reward them with an extra vacation day or half-day as a thank you for giving the company extra time. It’ll show them that you value their ability and their willingness to work hard.


This article was written by Marie Flounoy for Small Business Pulse