5 Key Business Trends to Master in 2016

December 15, 2015, 1:00 PM UTC
Illustration by Martín Laksman

Retire the term “manager”

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Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh took the radical step of eliminating all managers at his company. Now it’s time to act on the fact that most people are better supervised by their phones than by their bosses. Flatten your organization in 2016 and shift your managers into the role of coach. A coach who works individually with 40 employees for one hour a week each will get far better results than most traditional managers overseeing eight to 10 employees.


Embrace “scale-up” ecosystems

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With incubators abounding, support for startups is robust in most major cities around the world. But to really move the needle on jobs and innovation, more governments and private-sector institutions are pivoting into building ecosystems to support “scale-ups” to grow existing firms to $1 billion in revenue. Now is the time to remind your local government leaders that the real economic engines of our economy need some attention.


Open the books on health care costs

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One-third of employers expect the greatest cost increase from Affordable Care Act compliance to take place in 2016, when companies with 50 to 99 employees must start providing insurance, a recent survey found. More are shifting to cheaper, high-deductible plans as a result. If you still invest in a comprehensive health plan, start educating your employees about exactly what this valuable form of compensation really costs your company—and what it’s worth to them in pretax dollars. It will give you an edge over rivals who have pared such benefits.


Benefit from the freelance economy

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No matter how you feel about Uber, there’s no denying that relationships between companies and talent have become more fluid. With nearly half the workforce expected to be freelance by 2020, now is the time to learn how to tap into this vital talent pool more effectively. Showing your leadership team how to organize and inspire free agents who don’t necessarily depend on your firm for a paycheck every week will make your company more agile.


Be like a “B Corp”

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Most growth companies will never be certified as a benefit corporation—a rigorous process that measures factors such as their environmental and social record. But with even the giant corporation Unilever (UN) publicly discussing becoming one, smart leaders should turn B Corp guidelines (bcorporation.net) into a checklist to drive their business in 2016 and beyond. Great employees want to work for companies that stand for more than just profit, so it will give you a leg up in the talent wars. And it’s likely to win you more of the kind of customers you want to keep too.

Verne Harnish is the author of Scaling Up.

A version of this article appears in the December 15, 2015 issue of Fortune.