Each year I write a blog about what to expect in Human Resources during the coming year.  I’d like to predict warmer temperatures, but since I like to be fairly accurate, we’d better not talk about the weather.  To make certain I get something right, we’ll start with something certain.

Minimum wage:  the minimum wage in Michigan went up again on January 1st, the new rate is $9.25 per hour.

A little riskier would include…

Handbook rules:  With a new Republic majority on the NLRB board, the Obama era handbook policy interpretations are getting rolled back.  The NLRB previously told employers not to address employees who speak out about conditions of employment because it could have a “chilling effect” on employees’ rights.  This has started to change and will likely change further in 2018.  This could result in handbook revisions returning back to where they were.

The most news worthy…

Harassment:  With the rise of the #Metoo movement, expect there to be significantly more awareness and focus on workplace harassment in 2018.  Activities that were likely overlooked or hidden in the past, will be continue to be much more visible going forward.  Leaders who engage in harassing behaviors will be more likely to be addressed than in the past.  The recent formation of the highly visible “Time’s Up” organization, which is dedicated to fight sex harassment in all industries, will further encourage this trend.

Overall:  The HR profession has grown significantly more complicated and will continue to do so.  In addition to focusing on culture, organizations need to make certain that they have robust technical HR systems in place to evaluate and support their harassment, discrimination, compensation, and promotional decisions.  While some may say that these systems can limit the ability of leaders to reward talent, the reality is that good systems will meet those needs by ensuring that decisions are objectively made.  If your systems don’t do this effectively, we can help.

Why is this so important?  Previously, a harassment complaint could be filed with limited visibility.  In today’s era of instant social media and heightened public awareness, one complaint can result in a significant, highly visible impact to the culture and reputation of any organization.

As always, best wishes for a successful 2018 from your friends at HRM!

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