By Maria Valdez Haubrich

As we enter 2011 business around the country seems to be picking up. Are you ready to meet the challenge? Do you see yourself hiring more employees this year to meet the demand? I know at least for us, the past few years has meant trying to do everything ourselves. But at some point you’ve got to hire help or end up hurting your business’s health (and your own!).

A recent Herman Trend Alert from management consultants The Herman Group, forecasts the 2011 Workforce and Workplace trends and although the results aren’t surprising, they do give business owners a lot to chew on. Here are some highlights relevant to the small business owner:

Unemployment still high. Although The Herman Group expects unemployment to remain over 8 percent in 2011, the challenge for business owners is to find people with the skill sets they need.

Time to train. Since employers are looking for certain skills, workforce development will play a more important role in the employment process.

Technology rules! Employers will no longer be able to hide behind old systems and current technology will be needed for employees to help the businesses grow. (In other words, don’t be afraid to upgrade!)

The return of the sales incentive. Any companies that have not restored the sales incentive for employees, will do so in the next year. It may not go back to previous levels and incentives may be nonfinancial, but incentives will be needed to keep employees motivated and increase retention.

For the full trend alert, see Herman Trend Alert: 2011 Workforce/Workplace Forecast.