Talent Trends for 2017

Screen Shot 2017-01-27 at 2.41.58 PMBy Tom Gilman for the Cincinnati Business Courier.

With low unemployment rates making it hard to attract top talent and three ideologically different generations together in the workplace, 2016 was a year of change for many organizations. 2017 promises more of the same. Here are five key trends we expect to see play out:

1. The war for talent will continue to intensify.

Top talent continues to move fast - with sales, operations, engineering and finance positions in especially high demand - so it's critical to have efficient recruiting processes that recognize it's a candidate-driven market. Turnover will continue to increase as wages rise, and companies will ramp up retention efforts by providing additional benefits, many related to additional work flexibility. To attract and retain hourly employees, specific benefits such as transportation, will likely be added.

2. The candidate and employee experience will improve.

Employers will focus on improving their candidate and employee experience to add value and improve loyalty. We'll see more marketing techniques used to improve employer branding and there will be a continued emphasis on employee engagement, which is increasingly seen as key to employee satisfaction and retention.

3. Traditional management processes will evolve.

The emphasis on workplace teams will continue, and we'll see more independent contractors mixed into those groups along with team members based in multiple locations. Annual reviews will morph into continuous reviews and companies will shift toward more team-based feedback. Succession planning will look different, too, with more focus on talent pools than traditional 1-to-1 successors.

4. Corporate culture will be used as a competitive advantage.

Salary and benefits aren't the only ways to attract and retain top talent. Organizations will increasingly screen for cultural fit when recruiting while working to better understand what their culture is and how it can be adapted to improve employee performance.

5. The workforce will make room for a new generation.

Companies have adapted to having baby boomers, Gen Xers and millennials in the workplace together. This has presented challenges as well as opportunities, but in retrospect, many would say it's been a good thing, resulting in more flexible, collaborative and diverse organizations. Generation Z -- individuals born beginning in the mid-1990s -- is now poised to enter the fray. It's too soon to know their workplace characteristics, but they will be a large generation more racially diverse than previous ones. They will certainly be digital natives, able to multitask using only their smartphones, and some have speculated that because this group grew up during the Great Recession, they might be more conservative as well. We'll begin to find out this year and into the years ahead.

As the the workforce changes and demand for talent grows, the only certainty is that 2017 will bring more change for organizations competing for the best employees.