Some of the most important business trends in 2018 aren't in the realm of sales or marketing, but in management and human resources.

Why pay attention to human resources and management trends? Research has shown that the human touch throughout the hiring and onboarding process may improve employee retention and satisfaction.

After all, it's costly to hire a new employee. The Society for Human Resources Management estimates that it takes an average of $4,129 dollars and 42 days to find and hire the right person. Multiply those figures by the number of open positions in your company and you'll quickly see that investing in your onboarding process to boost employee retention can save you a lot of time, money and headaches later.

Here are six business and HR trends for the next year and the impact they can make on your organization.

Six Business Trends for 2018

Understanding that effective hiring and onboarding can make or break their company, businesses are trying new strategies that can give them an edge in the war for talent.

  1. Rethinking onboarding: Only 21 percent of employees are "extremely satisfied" with their company's onboarding process. Yet employees who gave their onboarding process high ratings felt more comfortable and confident on their first day on the job. A good onboarding process can help shorten the time it takes to acclimate new employees to their jobs. This year, businesses are rethinking their processes and finding ways to introduce their culture and values from Day One.
  2. Implementing entrance interviews: Entrance interviews are a way for business owners and managers to keep their fingers on the pulse of the company's culture. While exit interviews provide feedback from outgoing employees, entrance interviews enable you to ask questions about a newcomer's perceptions of the company's culture, work environment and productivity. You can provide new employees with a checklist of things to note or ask them to join you for lunch after a few days on the job to chat about what they've noticed.
  3. Freelancers (still) on the rise: Freelancers and independent contractors now comprise 35 percent of the U.S. workforce and earned $1 trillion in 2016. In 2018, it's likely that more businesses will hire more freelancers. If you're hiring freelancers, it's important to understand the differences between them and employees. Businesses that misclassify workers can be subject to costly fines and penalties. Refresh your knowledge with this IRS guide and be mindful of other independent contractor tests at the federal and state level including those imposed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Labor.
  4. "Blind" hiring: Companies continue to respond to claims of discrimination at the hiring phase and are seeking new ways to train managers about unconscious bias. Blind hiring is one method gaining steam. The concept is fairly simple: Just strip away information from candidates' resumes that may reveal protected characteristics such as race, gender or age. For example, hiding the candidate's name and address, year of graduation and years at various jobs may help conceal information related to protected characteristics. This can help you build a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
  5. Courting passive job seekers: Trying to recruit so-called passive job seekers may work in a company's favor. Passive job seekers are people who're open to new opportunities but aren't actively looking. The truth is you may need to seek out your next great hire, rather than wait for them to do the work of submitting an application. This trend for 2018 means that companies must pay more attention to their brand across social media and other platforms where passive job seekers may encounter their activities. Look beyond the obvious job boards to find candidates and recognize that not everyone who's interested in a job is actually going to submit a resume.
  6. Future-proofing: A new concept, future-proofing means thinking ahead and hiring employees who have skills you might need in the future. While you certainly need new employees to have adequate skills to fill open positions, consider what your company might need next year or the year after that. By future-proofing your business, you may ensure that your workforce will be ready to tackle the next big challenge. Skills that lend themselves to future-proofing include technology, marketing, sales and accounting.

Business Trends in 2018 Reflect the Larger World

An undeniable business trend of 2018 is the intersection of technology with a deep desire for more human-centered interaction. As technology takes over virtually every area of our lives, the human touch becomes increasingly important. At the same time, as people crave more and deeper connections with others, they turn to technology to facilitate those connections. That becomes apparent in the world of onboarding, human resources and the entire management realm.

Some payroll software and service solutions can help shorten the new hire onboarding process by enabling paperwork like I-9s and other forms to be completed prior to the first day of work. Because most new hire paperwork can be accomplished in advance, a new hire can spend the first day at work getting to know colleagues, managers and the company.

The new year will continue to fuse this desire for human contact with the need for better, faster and more efficient ways of getting things done.

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Tags: Employee Well-Being Growth Hiring Employee Engagement