There can be little doubt that 2016 was a great employment year. The Unemployment rate slightly decreased throughout the year, down from 4.9% in January to 4.6% in November. That means that the Unemployment rate is now back to 2006 / 2007 levels, prior to the housing crisis.
But if 2016 was about creating jobs, what headlines will 2017 generate?
It’ll Be All About Experience
Have you heard about the website Glassdoor yet? This popular site is Yelp’s bigger, badder brother for employers. Glassdoor is a site that allows current and former employees to leave company reviews and salary histories. These reviews can be posted anonymous and greatly affect your talent pool and your company’s ability to recruit. Companies are taking notice of the reviews and using the feedback to improve the employee experience. With talent pools shrinking, employee retention and engagement have become hot topics. By utilizing employee reviews, companies are able to address their identified issues and needs quickly. Some companies, such as IBM, have in fact saved over $130 million in employee retention; it looks as though ‘employee experience’ will be a top focus for 2017.
It Includes Continuous Reviews
It’s only logical that continuous reviews will replace annual performance reviews in the new experience-focused workplace.
About 25% of the workforce finds annual performance reviews both tiresome and uninspiring. Two industry pioneers – GE and Adobe – have abolished their annual reviews in favor of regular feedback sessions (Touchpoints and Check-In respectively). These regularly scheduled feedback sessions are designed to be in sync with the social media “instant gratification” younger generations, who are used to similar websites (such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook). When implemented properly, statistics indicate that these meetings can reduce voluntary attrition by at least 2%.
All’s Fair in Love and War
The downside of the current low unemployment rates is the resulting tight labor pool. Potential employers will be fighting to recruit the brightest and best, while current employers will have to work hard to retain their top performers. Currently, the average employee stays in his or her position for 4.6 years. But will that figure change as more opportunities arise? This tight talent pool is one more reason why you will likely see companies focus on both experience and continuous reviews; preventing attrition will be a main employment driver in 2017. Consider the 76% of full-time workers who are actively looking–or open to the possibility of–new opportunities—and ask yourself, ‘could you afford to lose 76% of your employees’?
Show Me the Money
If a tight labor market and employee retention were not enough challenges to tackle in 2017, employers can also expect to see a focus on employee salaries. Companies are planning to increase pay by about 3% on average, about the same amount as they did during 2016; employers can also expect to pay more for certain professional occupations. Meanwhile, the technology sector is forecast to experience a 3.8% salary increase in the year ahead.
Without a doubt, 2017 will be an eventful year. As President-elect Donald Trump takes office, he will be the first Republican in the White House since George W. Bush left office in 2009. President-elect Trump has an ambitious economic growth plan, with a focus on U.S. job creation and retention, as well as improved trade agreements. With all the changes on tap for the year ahead, 2017 seems bound to be an exciting year, with considerable changes in store for the nation’s labor market.