By Ryan Velez

Employee Appreciation Day falls on the first Friday in March every year. Many businesses take this time to recognize achievements and contributions of employees. As an entrepreneur, you don’t want to fall into the trap of letting your employees feel that they are unappreciated or undervalued, as a recent Black Enterprise article points out. Talented employees are willing and able to move from your business if they feel the rewards are less than adequate. After all, a recent McKinsey study shows that 20% to 30% of the American workforce is made up of independent workers. The workforce is also trending towards more mobility, autonomy, and an intergenerational makeup. So, where do you begin as an employer?

A good place to start is the new e-book from Maritz Motivation Solutions, Employee Engagement Trends and Insights for 2017. “Professional best practices, technology trends, and innovation are moving targets as HR executives and their companies prepare for 2017 and beyond. Keeping your employees involved and engaged is an area that is always transforming and evolving based on new information and new capabilities,” said Kimberly Abel-Lanier, VP and General Manager for CultureNext at Maritz Motivation Solutions, in a released statement. Here are some of the trends you will want to focus on as an entrepreneur to keep your employees happy.

The first, and most prevalent, is flexibility. Maritz Webinar poll revealed 40% of HR respondents see the “need for flexibility.” Their definition of flexibility is “everything from flex-time to remote work to shaking up the traditional office environment based on the wants and needs of employees.” If you are running a small business, making these accommodations can be hard, but building your business with the ability to attend to these needs may pay off when it comes to attracting and maintaining talent.

One area where a small business may be able to excel is personalization, defined as meaning at work and a personal connection to their organizations, teams, and missions. This may be easier for some fields than others, but as an entrepreneur, you can do a great job of communicating how your employees factor into the mission of your business, making them feel like they are of value. One trend that is going on now is called the rise of the “freelance nation.” Depending on what you are running, you may want to pursue independent employees, as more and more skilled individuals are choosing this route for the autonomy and freedom it provides.



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