As we bid farewell to 2017, we look ahead to what the new year has in store for the human resources industry. We’ve identified three topics that we think will be top of mind for HR professionals in 2018.
Stricter Sexual Harassment Policies
Since allegations about Harvey Weinstein surfaced in October of 2017, you can’t check the news without hearing about a new case of sexual harassment or misconduct. Case after case, you begin to realize how widespread the issue is. The epidemic is not limited to producers, politicians and journalists; More and more Americans are now speaking out about harassment they’ve experienced in the workplace.
According to a recent WSJ/NBC News poll, almost half (48%) of all employed women say they have received an unwelcome sexual advance or other verbal harassment of a sexual nature at work. The results show that a majority of Americans believe workplace sexual harassment is commonplace: 67% of men and women believe that sexual harassment happens in most or almost all workplaces.
While 70% of U.S. employers provide sexual harassment training and 98% maintain a harassment policy, the WSJ/NBC poll suggests that these measures might not be enough. As new cases begin to emerge in the media, we’ll likely see stricter sexual harassment policies, specifically an increase in those that enforce “zero tolerance.” Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett Packard, believes the recent hype will result in safer work environments. In an interview on Bloomberg TV, the high-profile female CEO stated “Every once in a while something big happens that changes the culture, and I’m hopeful that this is it.”
Concern over Immigration Law Compliance
Since Trump moved into the White House there has been greater attention on immigration enforcement. The Administration has issued multiple executive orders aimed at toughening the enforcement of immigration laws. This includes an executive order to cut funding to sanctuary cities, the phasing out of DACA (an Obama-era program that shields young undocumented immigrants from deportation), and talk of expanding E-Verify to all employers.
All these actions have influenced business owners to take a hard look at whether or not their employment verification processes are doing their job of screening out people who are ineligible to work legally in this country.
Lisa Salcido, Director of Human Resources for Balance Point’s HR Consulting Service BPHR, has witnessed the concern first-hand and advises clients to make any necessary changes, beginning with a review of the Form I-9 procedure. “Given the renewed focus on immigration compliance and enforcement of fines and criminal liability, we’re seeing an increase in requests for I-9 training and guidance. Our service strengthens the I-9 procedure to ensure compliance and integrates with our HRIS platform to streamline the process.”
Continued Shift to Cloud-Based and Mobile Solutions
This is a trend that we’ve been reporting on for years that continues to gain momentum. Technological advances in human capital management (HCM) streamline much of the administrative tasks associated with human resources, freeing up HR professionals to focus on the bigger picture. As more and more CEOs and C-suite leaders recognize the integral role human resources plays, the more likely they are to invest in this technology.
According to Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends, more than half of the companies surveyed are redesigning their HR teams to leverage digital and mobile tools, while a Sierra-Cedar HR Systems Survey found that more than half of purchased core HCM systems are cloud-based.
Not only do these solutions benefit HR (by simplifying common tasks) and management (by helping the organization to remain strategic), they also enrich the employee experience. As Millennials mature in the workplace, Generation Z will rise to attention with employers scrambling to make the most of their talents. Like their predecessors, Generation Zers are digital natives and demand convenience. Shifting to a cloud-based solution will be a necessity if employers wish to engage this group effectively.