There are a wide range of issues currently affecting the way organizations operate. Staying on top of the latest and emerging trends is necessary for employers, as this information helps to ensure they adopt the best practices most beneficial to them. Keeping a finger on the pulse of changes and shifts occurring in their industry, not only on a local but global scale, can offer much-needed guidance on the direction managers should be taking and what areas of their organization need the most improvement.
Littler Mendelson recently released the findings from its fifth annual Executive Employer Survey. In its research, which surveyed nearly 850 in-house counsel, human resource professionals, and corporate executives, the agency collected some key insights on the legal, economic, and social issues influencing today’s workforce, which can be broken down into the following three categories:
1. Regulation changes
The U.S. Department of Labor has issued a number of regulatory updates that are forcing employers to make some changes throughout their organization. 82 percent of respondents said that they expect the DOL’s enforcement of such initiatives to affect their business over the next year. One of the most notable is the new overtime rule, which will require business and HR leaders to more closely monitor the time their employees spend working to ensure they do not exceed 40 hours per week. This is something 65 percent have already started to prepare for through audits.
Another regulation-related concern plaguing employers has to do with the “Joint Employer” standard. The revised definition of this term, set forth by the National Labor Relations Board, is leading many respondents to expect an increase in the number of filed claims against them (70 percent) and a rise in costs (53 percent) over the next year. Only 2 percent said they don’t expect it to impact them in anyway.
2. Social issues
Employers are facing increased expectations to demonstrate social responsibility, particularly when it comes to fair pay and equal employment opportunities. As the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission continues to crack down on businesses to protect the rights of LGBT workers, an increasing number of employers (74 percent, compared to 31 percent in 2015) anticipate that it will lead to more discrimination claims over the next 12 months. In addition, there was a significant jump in the number of employers who felt the same about equal pay claims, rising from 34 percent to 61 percent between 2015 and 2016.
3. Workplace safety
A third area that is gaining the attention of companies is preventing violence in the workplace and making an effort to promote a safer environment. Although more than half (52 percent) of those surveyed have implemented a zero-policy tolerance for workplace violence, 11 percent said they have not done so because they don’t consider it a concern for their organization. And 1 percent listed fear of discrimination claims as being the reason they have not addressed violence in the workplace.
A large sum of respondents fell somewhere in the middle of a zero tolerance policy and inaction, though. Nearly 40 percent conducted employee training sessions and about just as many implemented pre-employment screening checks. Stay tuned for more coverage on the compliance landscape and what it will mean for employers in the coming months.