HR and Hiring Trends in 2016

As we pass the halfway point of 2016, the ever increasing pressure to compete for top talent continues to dominate the conversation in HR Departments across the country. The hiring landscape is changing quickly. Flexibility and initiative are becoming necessary skills for successful HR and recruiting professionals. Being open to new ideas, and more importantly following through on best practices, will determine the future of your workforce plan. 

We invite you to join CityStaff for a roundtable discussion on the following HR trends, as well as national and local hiring statistics:

The Edgar at the Mayflower Hotel
Wednesday, July 27th, 8:00am – 9:30am
RSVP here

Here are a few of the trends we will be discussing:

Gig Economy

What is the gig economy?  This evolving trend encompasses the increasing creation of temporary positions within organizations. These short-term engagements can be filled with independent workers through temporary agencies, contract firms, independent contractors, or on-call services. These positions can either act as a worker’s full-time job or be used as supplemental income to a permanent position. The entirety of the gig economy encompasses 15.8% of all workers. While car sharing services have become the face of the burgeoning gig economy, only 3.2% of gig workers are employed through online intermediaries such as car sharing.  

How will this affect my organization?  Freelance or gig-based work is an appealing option for many workers; offering flexible schedules, work-from-home options, and autonomy. With this growing sector, organizations can take advantage of a greater pool of talent. This allows organizations to be nimble while seeking the right skills for individual projects.

The downside to organizations of the expanding freelance market is that employees feel comfortable leaving their current jobs with the safety net of gig work to sustain them. With this in mind, it is important to ensure employee satisfaction in order to retain talent the organization wishes to keep. As this trend continues and top talent increasingly embraces it, gigs may affect how employee tenure is considered in qualifying candidates for future employment.

Referral Programs

What is changing within referral programs?  Employee-referred candidates make up 6.9% of all candidates, but account for 40% of total hires. They are approximately 25% more profitable than their peers. On average, referred candidates are placed in a role in 29 days, compared to the 39 days for applicants from job boards. Due to these successful hiring rates, organizations are offering more lucrative incentives to employees to increase the referrals generated by these programs.

How do you implement a successful referral program? To improve upon a program, or start a new one, begin with a survey to determine what would motivate current employees to actively recruit on the behalf of the organization. Getting creative with the incentives offered can increase excitement and action around the program. It is important the employees feel the reward is attractive and easily obtainable.

Follow up by promoting the referral program - and promoting it often. Send out weekly emails with the top job openings and create an easy-to-use submission process for referral information. Tie in social media and one-click sharing to encourage employees to promote opportunities to friends and family. Publicize positive results throughout the organization in newsletters or staff meetings.

Pay special attention to new employees to take advantage of their job seeker network and their eager attitude upon starting a new role. Continue to offer referral incentives to alumni in good standing. Not only will this drive referrals, but will also increase engagement among one of your most loyal customer bases.

Boomerang Employees

What is a boomerang employee?  A boomerang employee is defined as an employee who returns to work for a former employer. These employees are particularly valuable in their knowledge of the company and their understanding of the culture. Many employees leave on good terms and for justifiable causes, such as to gain a new skill set, move to a new city, or take time off for family. Boomerang employees tend to have a renewed appreciation and enthusiasm for the organization, and a greater knowledge base to build upon the business.

How can your organization attract more boomerang employees?  The key to attracting boomerang employees is to maintain communication with alumni. This begins during the exit interview, reminding those that are leaving on good terms that the organization would be happy to welcome them back in the future. Organize in-person or virtual events for the alumni network, and encourage them to engage with the organization’s social media, website, and product/service/cause.

Perks & Benefits

What are the top perks and benefits being offered to employees in 2016? 79% of employees would prefer a new or additional benefit over a pay increase.  But what are the top perks that employees desire? Health care insurance, paid time off, and 401K/Retirement plans are at the top of the most-wanted list.  Telework is increasing in demand with 80% of employees wanting to telework at least part- time, and Millennials repeatedly express a desire for greater control over their own schedule. Here is a list of other office perks your organization can consider implementing to attract and retain talent.

What are some creative, out-of-the-box perks organizations are offering their employees?

  • AirBnb offers its employees $2,000 to travel the world anywhere they choose each year.
  • SC Johnson has an on-site concierge service to mail your packages, send flowers, deliver groceries to your house, and get the oil in your car changed.
  • Discovery keeps its employees growing creatively by offering free classes and events, like African dance classes, chocolate-making lessons, water coloring, fly-fishing, and improv seminars. 
  • BBMG aims to fund what inspires you with $500 per month to be used for personal growth.  Employees have used these funds for such things as 30 days of yoga, skydiving, guitar lessons, and tutu-making. 
  • Zynga offers relaxation lounges complete with arcade games, Xbox 360 and PS3, and spa services (i.e. messages, reflexology treatments, acupuncture, and haircuts).

Learn about even more companies with interesting perks here.

Interested in learning more about these and other HR trends?

Come to our roundtable discussion where you can interact with other D.C. HR professionals and learn how they are facing changes within the labor market and adjusting to hiring trends. RSVP Here.

Can’t make it to our event but still want to know more?

Contact Jennifer Pearce at or (202) 861-4200

Download a PDF of this article here