5-trending-issues-in-human-resources-for-2016As 2015 draws to an end, many companies and human resource departments are gearing up for a new year and a new beginning for many employees. When executive leadership makes changes, technology advances or employees adapt to new requirements and expectations, it can produce frustration, dissatisfaction and confusion in the workplace.

Some of these alterations in workplace dynamics can be predicted based on national movements, and human resources departments should be prepared for similar events in their own companies.

These are the top 5 trending issues in human resources for 2016:

Appeal to Millennial Workers

With the first round of Generation Z employees graduating this May and Baby Boomers continuing to retire in the thousands each month, the landscape of the American workforce is in a great period of flux. By 2020, Millennials are expected to account for almost half of the global workforce, and these employees have different expectations than many of the Boomers. With a focus on digitizing, mobile platforms and social media, companies must be prepared to appeal to these fast-paced and continually evolving workers, and that attraction begins with the hiring process itself.

Focus on Employee Engagement

Workers are hopping from job to job at a surprising rate. Gone are the days when a high school or college graduate would accept a job, work his or her way up the corporate ladder and retire from the same company. Instead, employees are constantly on the lookout for the companies that will offer the best perks. Keeping employees engaged and content is one of the best methods for retaining staff, increasing productivity and driving innovation. Companies that are interested in growth or expansion should look no further than the happiness of their own employees for improved success.

Improved Management Systems For Workforce Data

With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, companies with 50 or more full-time employees are required to more specifically track their personnel. This means that members of departments previously unaffected by initiatives such as healthcare may now need to be tracked and reported to the federal government. While such data collection previously occurred annually, the guidelines of this law require monthly tabulation. Gathering the required data and monitoring the status of such a large group of employees in multiple data systems could become a headache for human resources if not handled efficiently.

Requests for Workplace Flexibility

An increasing number of employees is feeling burned out, asked or forced to work more than 40 hours a week as well as reachable at home at night and on the weekends. With little personal down time, these employees are more frequently changing jobs, looking for looser work hours and inquiring about telecommuting. The rise of the Internet and online communication has only added to the desire of many employees to seek more flexible and less traditional work conditions. Companies that do not already have policies in place for flexible work programs will need to begin addressing these concerns, especially as the increased Millennial workforce will begin seeking maternity and paternity leave options.

Rethinking Workspaces

While the battle over office real estate is hardly anything new, many companies will begin investigating new workspace options in the current age of collaboration and socialization. The younger workforce is more interested in open, common work areas that can be easily reconfigured for group collaboration and conferences. With an urge for more comfort and fewer distractions, many companies are moving away from the classic cubicle office space in favor or moveable furniture and multi-faceted office options.

From the rise of the Millennial worker and the changes in public policy come the potential for several concerns best handled by human resources. While individual matters will undoubtedly arise for each corporation, these are just 5 of the issues projected to affect a large number of companies in the coming year.

See also: Top 10 Best Online Master’s in Human Resources Degree Programs