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Small Business Trends for 2019

Tammy Cohen, PHR, SHRM-CP
January 11 2019
The holidays are over, the new year is here, and it’s time for everyone to get back to work. One way to get rid of the “holiday hangover” is to start putting your thoughts toward the opportunities and challenges of the new year. Here are some small business trends for 2019 to keep in mind as you plan your business strategy.

The Talent War Rages On

Unemployment is at its lowest in nearly fifty years. It’s a job seeker’s market and workers have options. Job-hopping is on the rise as younger generations shop around for the workplace they like best. In order to retain talent, small businesses need to offer competitive pay, benefits, perks, and company culture. And while some experts are predicting an economic downturn in 2019, there are still more jobs than workers.

Get Involved with Your Staff

Today’s workers place emphasis on social, economic, and environmental responsibility. Highlight the initiatives your company participates in, whether that’s a recycling project, a day of service with a charity, or a health and wellness program. Getting involved in projects and programs together builds a sense of community and ultimately benefits your company culture. The key to success with any program is making sure you continuously communicate and promote it to your staff.

Offer Some Purr-Fect Perks

While smaller businesses can’t always offer the extensive benefits that corporations provide, they are beginning to offer unique (and budget-friendly!) perks to attract more talent. Some offices are letting employees bring their pets to work, creating office libraries, or providing monthly catered lunches. These can be fun ways to show your employees your appreciation without having to break the bank.

Decide When (and Where) You Work

Millennials and Gen Z are leading the charge for flexible work hours. The traditional 9 to 5 office job is on its last legs. People today prefer a schedule that can adapt to the disruptions of everyday life: doctor’s appointments, family events, car troubles, and anything else that might keep us away from the office. Working remotely is becoming popular, particularly with the advent of new, affordable technology that makes working from home more efficient. It also has a wide variety of benefits for employees and businesses alike.

A Personal Approach to Onboarding

When we onboard employees, we want to do it as quickly as possible, so they can get right to work. However, there’s increased attention on onboarding employees into the company culture. While the steps in traditional onboarding — going over benefits, meeting employees, setting up a workspace — are important, there is a new focus on personalized and humanized onboarding. Don’t just bring your employees into a new job, bring them into a new community.

Enter the Digital Age

A website is an invaluable tool for a growing business, but it’s estimated that 50% of small businesses don’t have websites. While it was once expensive to create, update, and maintain a website, these days it’s simple and affordable. Businesses can hire a freelance web designer to create a site or use a service like WordPress or Squarespace to create their own. More and more small businesses are realizing the value of an online presence, and digitization is key to continued growth.

Embrace Automation

Automation is often a dirty word in the business world, but it can be useful for small businesses because it saves time, energy, resources, and money. For example, having an employee send out an invoice to each customer after a purchase is a misuse of time and manpower. Automating that system to send e-invoices immediately after a purchase frees up your valuable employees to accomplish other tasks. Businesses will continue to embrace automation to streamline processes in 2019.

Decide When (and Where) You Work

The traditional office cubicle is on the way out. Younger generations think they’re isolating, sterile, and outdated. Today’s startups and small businesses favor communal workspaces. An open-air office can make the most out of your space while remaining affordable. They also facilitate increased communication and a sense of community between workers. By taking down the cubicle walls, we’re literally breaking down the barriers between employees.

Decide When (and Where) You Work

Collaborative work is becoming more prominent in offices. In the past, the workplace often resembled the ever-efficient assembly line. Now the business world is shifting towards easy communication and collaboration. Services like Google Drive, Lucid Charts, and Wrike make sharing ideas and making edits easy. Collaborative work is possible even if some employees are working remotely, as services like GoToMeeting help teams connect no matter where they are.

The new year holds new opportunities for businesses of all sizes. As technology flies forward and younger generations file into the workforce, things are undoubtedly going to be exciting as these trends develop the 2019 workforce future. All these trends will likely play a role this year, and small businesses can take advantage of them in order to continue to grow their businesses.

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About Tammy Cohen

Tammy Cohen, an industry pioneer and expert in identity and employment screening, founded InfoMart 30 years ago. Deemed the “Queen of Screen,” she’s been a force behind industry-leading innovations. She was most recently the first-to-market with a fully compliant sanctions search, as well as a suite of identity services that modernizes talent onboarding. Tammy revolutionized the screening industry when she stepped into the field, developing the first client-facing application and a due diligence criminal search that has since become standard for all background screening companies. Cohen has received national awards and honors for her business and civic involvement, including Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Top 25 Women-Owned Firms in Atlanta, Enterprising Women Magazine’s Enterprising Women of the Year award, the YWCA of Northwest Georgia’s Kathryn Woods Racial Justice Award, and a commendation in the 152nd Congressional Record. To learn more about Tammy, visit www.tammycohen.com.

About InfoMart

InfoMart has been revolutionizing the global background and identity screening industry for 30 years, providing businesses the information they need to make informed hiring decisions. They develop innovative technology that modernizes talent onboarding, including a first-to-market biometric identity authentication application and a verified sanctions search. The WBENC-certified company is a founding member of the Professional Background Screening Association, and they have achieved PBSA accreditation in recognition of their consistent business practices and commitment to compliance with the FCRA. The company is dedicated to customer service, speed, and accuracy, and it has been recognized for its success, workplace culture, and corporate citizenship with over 45 industry awards. To Get the Whole Story on InfoMart, please visit www.InfoMart-USA.com, follow @InfoMartUSA, or call (770) 984-2727.

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