As a human resource professional, you can count on a career that is constantly evolving. Recent trends in the field are direct results of current events and headline news stories. In order to keep work environments safe, diverse and positive, HR leaders are facing challenges concerning sexual harassment, discrimination and opioid addiction.
How Can HR Combat Sexual Harassment?
In the current climate of #MeToo and dismissals of high-profile figures for inappropriate behavior, HR departments have played a crucial role in recent movements to halt workplace sexual harassment. For employees to feel safe and supported by management, HR has no choice but to establish itself as a reliable and trustworthy resource.
A factor in HR's commitment to colleagues is a new form of instruction called "bystander intervention training." According to Inc., the basic philosophy behind this idea is a phrase you've likely seen in airports, subways and college campuses, "See something. Say something."
Experts say existing educational programs concerning sexual harassment may not be working and innovative options are necessary. Inc. reports bystander training will help facilitate a culture of "shared responsibility and purpose, in addition to boosting workplace morale."
How Does HR Promote Workplace Diversity?
The promotion of diversity has found its way into daily conversations, and rightfully so. Companies have a responsibility to welcome candidates regardless of sexual orientation, race, ethnicity and religious ideologies.
Acceptance can't just be something printed in a mission statement, though. HR leaders must advocate diversity training, share policies about tolerance in the workplace and maintain open communication about questionable behavior.
HR Drive predicts, "2018 may be a year of reflection -- a year in which employers examine their structures to discern why women and people of color may be consistently left out of leadership positions, especially in certain industries."
It's important for HR professionals to remember that though they are often the teacher, they're also students. The organizations they represent won't grow unless they do, too. Unintended bias can prevent qualified talent from being considered for interviews, and Times Union suggests the first step to overcome this is acknowledgement: make sure you're self-aware.
It has been found that job candidates with ethnic-sounding names are less likely to be called for an interview, even though their credentials are equal to or better than those of other contenders. To avoid unintended bias, Times Union recommends hiding the names on resumes and making decisions based solely on pertinent information.
How Does HR Approach Drug Abuse?
Opioid abuse has become an epidemic and, as a result, more employers are testing for drugs. HR personnel are responsible for administering policies and addressing complaints that the tests are an invasion of workers' privacy.
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that drug tests are trending in safety-driven jobs such as those involving warehouse workers, construction crews and machinery operators. SHRM notes that effective January 2018, the U.S. Department of Transportation requires testing for employees of the following sectors: "commercial motor vehicle drivers, flight crew and other aviation-related workers, railroad employees, transit workers, certain pipeline employees, and marine employees regulated by the U.S. Coast Guard."
Potential risks posed by employees who abuse prescription drugs consist of injury to themselves or others, damaged property, poor execution of duties, and decrease in overall morale. HR has the delicate task of explaining consequences of positive test results, which can include referrals to recovery programs, last-chance agreements or immediate termination, while simultaneously ensuring everyone involved understands their rights and obligations.
The HR industry is constantly reshaping itself to address new concerns that arise on an ongoing basis. The job now requires leaders to ensure workers are happy, motivated and engaged while also keeping a finger on the pulse of current events and determining which trends will affect the workplace and its people.
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