The only constant feature of the human resources side of business is that the best way to manage the most valuable asset of all companies — people — will continue to be analyzed, debated, tested and challenged.
Studying current issues may just be the most exciting and interesting part of HR management.
Big HR Trends in 2018
You don’t have to delve deeply into the news cycle to notice trends that are buffeting the worlds of HR managers everywhere.
1. Sexual Harassment
The #MeToo movement is having a significant effect on corporate HR departments. In an article in The New York Times with a title that reveals the crux of the problem, “Sexual Harassment Cases Show the Ineffectiveness of Going to H.R.,” Noam Scheiber and Julie Creswell write, “Human resources departments, while officially responsible for fielding employee complaints, also work for a company that faces potential liability — an inherent conflict of interest.”
2. Hiring Bias
Related to gender harassment is the enduring problem of hiring bias. The root of bias is a social issue that is amplified in the workplace because of the asymmetrical power of hiring managers over new hires. It’s simply human nature to attach value to characteristics that do not matter to performance, such as race, gender and class background.
Josh Millet, the CEO of Criteria Corp., a pre-employment testing company, writes in Forbes that the easiest way to avoid workforce bias is to make hiring a blind process. “In standard screening and interviewing, unconscious bias easily becomes part of the equation by including any data that may give away key parts of a candidate’s background: gender, age, race, even alma mater. By making hiring a blind process — that is, stripping away any info on a resume that may reveal demographic data — the first wave of screening can be done based purely on abilities and achievements.”
3. Remote vs. Office Location
This topic is undergoing a serious yin-yang moment. Some say telecommuting is in decline. Others say it’s on the rise. What that means, ultimately, is that corporate America is still trying to decide which way this is going to go. And guess which department weighs in on the matter more than any other? That’s right, human resources.
Dan Schawbel makes the case in Forbes that working remotely is in decline: “IBM stopped their remote-working program.” He adds, “When employees bump into each other in physical environments, it sparks creativity and relationship building that leads to positive outcomes.” He believes more companies will reduce their telecommuting programs in 2018.
In his Forbes article, Millet makes the opposite case. “In the past two decades, the volume of employees who have worked at least partially by telecommuting has quadrupled and now stands at 37 percent. From a corporate perspective, it opens up the pool of candidates, and by offering remote work capabilities, it’s a way to retain current employees and boost job satisfaction through a better work-life balance. With video conferencing and collaboration tools evolving every year, this trend will only continue on the upswing.”
Who is right? Only time — and the decisions made by corporate executives and HR departments — will tell.
A Fascinating Field of Study
When you take Fitchburg State’s online MBA course Selected Topics in Management, you will have the chance to explore and debate topics such as these and many others. Enjoy!