This week I read an article outlining 10 employee relations issues for 2016. In this blog entry, we would like to look at these issues and offer our thoughts on how to be prepared for them.
The list as presented by Michele White of HR Acuity is:
• Same-Sex Marriage
• Medical Marijuana
• Employee Use of Social Media
• Ban the Box
• Employee Tattoos
• Reverse Mentoring
• Transgender Employees
• Affordable Care Act Employer Mandate
• Annual Performance Reviews
• Confidentiality of Workplace Investigations
How should organizations prepare to deal with these issues? Not surprisingly, CALMC recommends Employee Engagement and Training to help find effective ways to resolve the problems related to this list and boost employee acceptance of the resulting changes.
Some of these concerns are outside of the control of the organization, such as Affordable Care mandates or ‘Ban the Box” legislation. Engaging employees on these issues can center on strategies to deal with how they will impact the organization and the work force. An employee-management team can also plan the training necessary to help workers understand the issues and the impact they will have. Joint health care committees can develop solutions to control expenses and coverage procurement. Certainly, training on changes to health care benefits are essential for both employees and HR departments.
When dealing with controversial issues, involving employees can help determine creative solutions that are acceptable to the work force and legally compliant. For example, issues related to transgender employees can be carefully considered and jointly presented to all staff by employees and management.
Employee-management teams can also address issues such as the use of social media by employees. Teams could consider the implications of social media, both positive and negative, and should include representatives from the IT department to benefit from their expertise.
CALMC also suggests using Interest Based Problem Solving to address these issues. This process will permit employees and managers to jointly identify and attack the problems and develop creative solutions. In an organized employer, the necessary negotiations over the impact of these issues is facilitated by the interest-based process.
IBPS can also help explore alternatives to the annual performance review process to develop a system that truly focuses on employee development throughout the year.
The issues presented on this list provide real challenges for employers and employees. Both need to work together to find the best strategies for dealing with these problems and their implications.
Let us know what you think. Are there other approaches for these issues or different problems that will face organizations in 2016?