Likely Trends Impacting HR in 2018
With the barrage of credible sexual harassment accusations in the news, you should expect more people to come forward with complaints in 2018. This would be a good time to review your anti-harassment policies and ensure they meet the Supreme Court’s criteria for an affirmative defense. First, you must have a policy that gives people multiple complaint channels. Second, you must take action to prevent harassment from occurring, which you can do through prevention training and re-disseminating your policy. Third, be prepared to thoroughly investigate all complaints with support from counsel. Remember, harassment law applies to all protected classes, so don’t limit your policy or your training to sexual harassment.
Tight Labor Market and Compensation
The competition for talent will likely remain unabated in 2018. The data on wage growth is sending mixed signals, but every tight labor market places upward pressure on wages, so have a strategy in place to balance the need to pay new hires more with the equally pressing need to maintain internal equity. Compensation may or may not be a motivator, but believing that you are underpaid is a strong motivator to leave for a better deal elsewhere.
Tight Labor Market and Recruiting
It is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit new hires in many fields, and with the Trump Administration’s sour attitude towards immigration, it will be a lot tougher to find highly skilled STEM graduates. While you will likely have to place more effort in attracting the passive candidate, don’t forget that once you have connected with the candidate, you have to have a good story to tell about why your company is a great place to work. Do an honest assessment of what you have to offer and where you fall short in the area of attracting and retaining staff---and include not just the obvious things like benefits, work-life balance compensation, but the things that cause most people to leave: feeling disempowered, poor management, lack of career development and the absence of real learning opportunities.
Chaos in Health Care
In response to the federal government’s confusing and chaotic attempts to change health care law, insurers are already raising rates. Expect your health care renewal rates to rise again next year and be prepared to balance benefit cuts with additional plan choices. Look at your full range and benefit offerings and figure out whether or not you can strengthen other benefits---especially those related to time off and telecommuting. Work-life balance can be a strong selling point in a retention initiative.
Delay in EEO Resolutions
The Department of Justice shows little interest in prioritizing EEO complaints, so expect the already long waiting time for findings to get even longer.
Developments in the Application of Data in HR
Large companies will attempt to apply big data to HR problems, and the main risk there is using big data to screen and evaluate candidates, which could lead to adverse impact issues. Facts still matter in HR, and questioning the validity of any data through rigorous analysis of methodology and common sense.
Increasing Demand for Mobility and Flexibility
More people want to work when they want to work and where they want to work, and to dismiss this trend as “millennial silliness” is suicidal. If you manage people according to their contributions, increased workplace flexibility becomes a no-brainer, especially for exempt employees. Make sure you have a strong, non-bureaucratic performance management process to ensure that flexibility results in a honest day’s work.
Bob Mendonsa is a published author, accomplished speaker and trainer and holds numerous certifications, including a SPHR, Myers Briggs Certification, Strong Interest Inventory Certification and certification in the Center for Creative Leadership 360 suite. In addition to his consulting work, he is currently serving as Human Resources Director for Wellspring Family Services.