The Top 10 Workplace Trends for 2016

The Fiscal Times is pointing to numerous workplace trends that they say spell positive changes for workers in 2016.

The top 10 trends:

  1. Compensation includes more than salary. Most companies are giving out average salary increases of merely 3%, but companies are offering better benefits. “Benefits and perks do carry a monetary value as well as an emotional value,” says Scott Dobroski, a career trends analyst at Glassdoor. “These are all part of the compensation equation now, where five or 10 years ago it was just about salary.”
  2. Student loan assistance is hot. It’s still a trend in its infancy, but employers are beginning to help employees pay off student loans. PwC, for example, is giving workers up to $1,200 a year to put toward their loans.
  3. Recruiters are finding employees via social networks. A recent LinkedIn report found that 43% of hiring managers use professional social networks to find quality employers, making them the top source, just edging out online job boards, The Fiscal Times reported.
  4. The gig economy continues to grow. A growing number of white-collar workers are working as contractors in roles that offer more flexibility but less security and benefits. A third of American workers freelanced last year, with 60% of freelancers doing so by choice, according to new study by Upwork.
  5. Millennials move into management. Millennials now make up more than a third of the American workforce, overtaking Baby Boomers as the largest age cohort in the workplace.
  6. Focus on financial planning. Companies are realizing that it’s no longer enough to just offer 401(k) plans, they also have to teach their employees how to make the best use of their financial benefits. A quarter of today’s workers say their biggest financial worry is keeping up with monthly expenses. “We have learned that financial stress at home creates a productivity drag in the workplace,” says Betsy Dill, a senior partner at Mercer.
  7. Companies welcome back ‘boomerang’ workers. Companies are increasingly doing away with policies that ban hiring former employees. More than half of hiring managers say they give high priority to job applicants who formerly worked for the company and left in good standing.
  8. Wellness embraces wearables. Companies will continue to expand wellness programs in 2016 as a means of keeping employees healthy and reducing their overall health care costs. Now, they’re using wearable fitness trackers to boost their programs, with more companies subsidizing the costs of the gadgets and helping employees use them.
  9. ‘Hotel desks’ go mainstream. It’s been years since companies began doing away with offices and cubicles in favor of “open concept” offices layouts. Now, companies are eliminating assigned desks altogether to lower real estate costs and efficiently make use of desks as more employees stay out of the office altogether. “Because more people are working remotely, when they do come in, they don’t necessarily have a home base,” says Vicki Salemi, a career expert with Monster.com.
  10. Parental leave is getting more generous. Paid benefits for parents – both mothers and fathers – in America continues to lag the rest of the world, but as millennials become parents they’re starting to demand (and receive) paid parental leave after having or adopting a child. Paternity leave, in particular, is getting renewed attention, thanks to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to take two months off from his company following the birth of his daughter.