THE BLOG
01/05/2015 04:54 pm ET Updated Mar 07, 2015

5 Major Trends That Will Impact Small And Medium Businesses in 2015

At the Workforce Institute at Kronos, we're seeing businesses across the board taking more advantage of technologies that can help them find, deploy, track, train, engage and retain the people they need to be successful. The technology that most people carry in their pockets in the form of a smartphone makes it increasingly easy for them and their employers to participate in the 5 major trends we see impacting the SMB workplace in 2015.

The Cloud is for Everybody

The Internet has enabled businesses in ways we would have found unimaginable 10 years ago. John Gage of Sun Microsystems coined the term "The network is the computer". At the time he said this, in the early days of the public Internet, the statement was considered farfetched. Today, however, we take it for granted that we can find almost anything we seek on the web - including products and services; reviews of same; jobs and job candidates; people who can vet those jobs or job candidates, etc. People have learned to be careful about protecting their information online, and the benefits of moving online have largely outweighed the risks for most people. Making it easy for your customers and employees to engage with you via the cloud is expected, not optional.

Social Media is Mainstream

Once considered a plaything for teenagers, social media has hit its stride as a legitimate business communications channel. LinkedIn is the go to tool for recruiters seeking the elusive passive (happy, valued, must-be-wooed) candidate. Twitter is informing and connecting people 140 characters at a time. Your customers are checking you out via online peer to peer review sites like Yelp (B2C) and G2 Crowd (B2B). Potential employees look you up on Glassdoor to see what your current employees have to say about working for your organization. Social collaboration and gamification come to the workplace in the form of tools that enable employees to more easily work together and learn from each other.

Wearable Technology Moves Beyond Mobile Devices

Many workers are already "wearing" technology to work in the form of mobile phones. Increasingly, though, smaller smart devices are showing up everywhere from hospitals to oil fields for a range of purposes including wellness, safety and training. Research we conducted earlier this year indicates that 87% of workers worldwide see at least one benefit associated with wearing technology that helps them at work.

Employee Friendly Legislation Ups the Ante for Compliance

Legislation designed to increase worker benefits including the Affordable Care Act, minimum wage changes and mandated sick time increase the need for employers to be able to track and report on their compliance with these mandates. Many smaller businesses, worried about the cost of automating their workforce management practices, still rely on manual processes for this type of compliance tracking. One of the benefits of the pervasiveness of cloud solutions, however, is the growth of affordable automated solutions that can benefit small businesses as well as large enterprises.

Decisions are Increasingly Data Driven

Terms like big data, analytics, and evidence-based management have been part of the large enterprise conversation for years. Smaller businesses, swimming in lots of data of their own, will likewise be taking more advantage of that data to bring science as well as art to their decision making.