Five Human Resources (HR) Trends and Best Practices

Keeping a pulse on the management, compliance, and best practices associated with your most valuable assets—your human resources—is crucial when striving to become an exceptional workplace. Human resources (HR) encompasses a broad range of topics—everything from recruiting through retirement—that has to do with your employees. And, like most things in life, HR can be significantly affected by technology, media, and seemingly ever-changing laws.

Five HR topics that are currently trending are recruiting; harassment and discrimination; employee leave; workplace violence; and maintaining a drug-free workplace. To remain competitive and compliant in these areas, consider the following best practices.

  1. Recruiting

Recruiting is the first interaction you have with and the first impression you have on your future employees. Creating a strong recruiting strategy will help you compete for the best talent while remaining compliant.

  • Create a recruiting process with proper documentation.
  • Ensure all your internal HR staff and hiring managers are educated on those processes.
  •  Collect and keep appropriate documentation including the completed application, an interview evaluation form from each interviewer, and a clean copy of the candidate’s resume.
  • Store documentation for at least two years.
  • Keep copies of the documentation listed above for a minimum of two years after you select and successfully onboard your new hire. Be mindful that some states may have more strict record-keeping laws than two years or other recommendations.
  • Eliminate salary history questions. The gender wage gap, more specifically, has been a hot topic of discussion, but wage gaps can be found between any employees performing the same job functions. Eliminating salary history from your application, interview process, and background checks will assist with compliance and fair pay.
  1. Harassment and Discrimination

There’s been an increase of high-profile sexual harassment cases in the media over the past year. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) 85% of women claim they have been sexually harassed at work. Develop a zero-tolerance policy.

  • The first step is to develop an antiharassment and discrimination policy.
  • Identify a reporting process.
  • Another best practice is to offer employees multiple people to whom employees can report any harassment or discrimination incidents.
  • ] Train regularly.
  • Once you’ve established a policy and a process for reporting, conduct harassment training on a regular basis for all employees. Education is key. While we recommend training sessions every two years, some state laws are more stringent.
  1. Employee Leave

Many states and municipalities are adopting various employee leave laws. This will add another administrative burden for employers and may present a challenge for employers with employees in multiple locations with differing laws.

  • Understand local laws and determine how your business will comply. Look at all the laws regarding sick leave, family leave, military leave, bereavement leave, blood donor leave, domestic violence leave, emergency responder leave, and school activities leave.
  • Managers need to know and understand employees’ rights. Train them.
  • Inform your employees of their rights. Informing employees of their rights will ensure that they are aware of the boundaries of any leave requests. Placing this information in an employee handbook where it is easily accessible allows employees to refer to it at any time.
  1. Workplace Violence

Nearly two million American workers report having been the victims of workplace violence each year, according to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA)

  • Develop a clear zero-tolerance harassment and workplace violence policy.
  • State the policy clearly and specifically in your employee handbook. Remember that workplace violence can go beyond worksite employees to include patients, clients, visitors, or contractors.
  • Enforce the policy regularly and consistently.
  • Inconsistencies lead to confusion among employees and leave employers vulnerable to lawsuits. Make sure that every manager is handling the situations in a consistent manner.
  • Offer regular antiharassment and violence training sessions to your employees.
  • Reiterate what employees should do about known harassment and ensure that management knows how to handle any incidents reported or observed.
  • Keep a pulse on relationships within the workplace.
  • When employees seem to be hostile or dangerously close to crossing policy lines, encourage meetings between them and their manager and an HR professional.
  1. Drug-Free Workplace

Have you ever suspected an employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol? According to the American Council for Drug Education, drug and alcohol abusers are 10 times more likely to miss work, 3.6 times more likely to be involved in on-the-job accidents, 5 times more likely to file a worker’s compensation claim, 33% less productive, and responsible for healthcare costs that are 3 times as high. These are staggering statistics that force organizations to consider the drug and alcohol policies in place and the use of reasonable-suspicion drug testing.

  • Include a checklist of signs of drug and alcohol use in your employment policy. Train your managers to identify signs including unsteady walking, unusual speech patterns, erratic behavior, hyperactivity, or drowsiness.
  • Institute reasonable-suspicion drug testing. Reasonable-suspicion drug testing occurs when an employer has reason to believe that an employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol while conducting work.

The Journal of Medical Practice Management, November/December 2018

Katie Stewart, M.A., PHR, CLRL, SHRM-CP

Senior Director of HR, Client Service

TandemHR | 630.468.9213 

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