What trends will matter most to employers in 2015?
The hottest trend seems to be competition for talent, and social media and mobile-friendly job applications will be key to attracting the best recruits, according to experts Ryan Glushkoff, director of Product Marketing for PeopleMatter, and Victor Fernandez, executive director of Insights and Knowledge for TDn2K.
Hiring pressures seemed to dominate the list of trends the pair ran down in the webinar "Hot or Not: 2015 Employer Trends," hosted by FastCasual.com on Dec. 9. Playback of the webinar is available here.
Fernandez and Glushkoff named the following as trends to watch in 2015:
1. HOT: Competition for talent.The job market is heating up, with 321,000 jobs added in November 2014, marking the 10 consecutive month of more than 200,000 job gains.
Even with the recovery from the economic downturn continuing, restaurant same-store sales remain sluggish. Operators are turning to new units to generate profits, which means more new hires are necessary to staff the new units.
All of that adds up to this: hiring managers will feel the pressure in 2015.
2. HOT: Social recruiting.With 74 percent of Internet users using social media, why not use it? asked Glushkoff.
Despite widespread adoption of social media, recruiters and hiring managers still haven't quite figured out how to tap the full potential of social media for recruiting and hiring.
Glushkoff suggested a two-pronged approach: "hunting" for recruits on LinkedIn, and "farming" recruits by cultivating relationships through strong content on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.
3. HOT: Mobile job application.With more than half of all traffic coming from mobile devices, brands can no longer afford to not have mobile-friendly job application websites. As many as 40 percent of potential candidates will abandon the application process if they run into roadblocks to mobile usage.
When optimizing for mobile, make sure pages are designed to be responsive to variations in screen sizes, and keep applications short with only minimal questions, said Glushkoff.
4. NOT: Big Data reporting.Think less about Big Data, and more about identifying small, actionable data, said Glushkoff.
The future belongs to those who can recognize patterns, extract meaning and recommend a course of action, he said.
5: HOT: Screening for the right fit. The longer and higher quality the employee orientation is, the lower employee turnover will be, according to Fernandez. And high management turnover correlates to weaker same-store sales.
Employers should include training on brand culture, Fernandez advised. Employees that are on board with brand values will be more effective brand ambassadors, which begets better customer experiences, which begets increased traffic, which begets stronger sales.
6. HOT: Employee communication.Keeping just 10 employees in sync is a challenge, but when you multiply that challenge across multiple locations, cultures and shifts, the challenge grows exponentially.
Restaurants must establish and maintain clear, consistent communication if they want to increase productivity, reduce errors and improve operations.
7. HOT: Mobile training.Smartphones are ubiquitous, and smartphones with larger screens – also known as phablets -- are making their way into the market, with potential left for growth. Much opportunity remains for brands to execute training through mobile devices.
Keys to mobile training include identifying the learning objectives, knowing the delivery methods, creating mobile-friendly content, testing and measuring for results.
8. NOT: Point solutions. Point solutions focus on solving a single problem or meeting a specific need. While they might be great at that one thing, integrating with other solutions can be a headache and a big expense, said Glushkoff.
Instead, look for suite solutions that solve multiple problems in one package, he advised.
9. HOT: Minimum wage.The minimum wage debate will continue to heat up in 2015, according to Fernandez, with the service industry – and quick-service restaurants in particular – taking most of the fire from pressure groups. Most of the workers impacted by potential minimum wage hikes are also younger.
10. NOT: ACA. Most of the details of the Affordable Care Act have been rolled out and brands now have to grapple with the new normal and its increased administrative costs.
Increases in total health-care benefit-related costs for 2015 will likely be between 15 to 20 percent, with much of the cost increase attributable to administration, compliance and employee communication costs rather than premium increases.
Check out this round-up of tweets from the live event: