Events From 2017 That Will Make a Lasting Impact in the Workplace

Kathy Rapp candidate experience, Change Management, Communication, Compensation/Cash Money, Corporate America, Current Affairs, Employment Law, Harassment, Holidays, HR, HR & Sports, in the news, Kathy Rapp, Sexual Harassment, Women in the Workplace

I love reading trend predictions, but also enjoy the thoughtful look-back.  Makes me wish I’d saved some of those workforce articles from the 9o’s.  Lotus NotesPersonal Digital AssistantsBeavis and Butthead.  Causal Fridays.

While I don’t miss the drama over what “casual” Fridays vs. jeans Fridays meant, there is a nostalgia that gets me this time of year.  Perhaps it’s remembering when holiday parties didn’t require a legal statement or drug test the next day.  Guessing this year’s parties resembled a 6th grade Catholic school dance.  Boys on one side.  Girls on the other.  Thank you, Mr. Weinstein.

Here are some of the 2017 happenings that will continue to impact our workforce indefinitely:

Bad Behavior:  Larry Nassar, former DJ David Mueller, Weinstein, Spacey, Lauer, U.S. government elected officials…and the list goes on.  Oh, how far we have not come.  But how wonderful that we are becoming more comfortable having the right conversation.

An innocent game of arm wrestling broke out (because why not?!?) when my husband was having lunch with our daughter at school.  As he was getting set to battle a 6-year old girl, a 6-year old boy says, “You can’t let a girl beat you!”

Biases, stereotypes and yes, even bad behaviors are learned.  They are observed and absorbed – and can manifest into horrific acts.  We must deal with it in our workplaces.  Constant communication, education, zero tolerance and swift action.  Done.  But it’s never that simple and HR leaders will need to continue to be vigilant.

Disaster Response & Recovery:  Wildfires in California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington state.  Mexico City’s earthquake and Hurricanes Irma, Maria and Harvey.  2017 has been quite the year.  J.J. Watt (and Jose Altuve) were named Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year.  “When devastation hit his city of Houston in late August, J.J. Watt set out to raise $200,000.  He ended up raising more than $37 million in Hurricane Harvey relief, via donations from both millionaires and six-year-olds.”

J.J.’s fundraising was a catalyst to a much larger movement in Houston and other impacted areas.  A group of Houston CHRO’s banded together to outline what each of their organizations was doing in response to the devastation for so many of their employees and customers.  Through the sharing of information, the HR community bond grew tighter.  No one was in it alone.

The demonstrated “community” effort and #HoustonStrong mentality should be studied for its effective impact on the workforce and getting people back to work quickly.  And, at a more granular level, how could that community spirit be deployed in your organization to propel your business past challenges?

Salary Shut Up:  California’s statewide ban on asking about past salary history – and current expectations – is the most recent law to be enacted, taking effect on January 1st of 2018.  New York City, Philadelphia, Delaware, Massachusetts and Oregon have, or will have, similar bans.

The purpose of these laws is to combat pay inequities.  It will push companies to ensure they are making data-supported pay decisions, accounting for market factors and rewarding results.

This surfaces a slew of HR implications:  training, revising applications, gathering market data, rethinking the hiring process and each point of contact, etc.  And as more and more states adopt this way of thinking, the hiring process becomes even more complex and competitive.  Are you prepared for 2018 and beyond?

So, while the trend prognosticators will be rampant over the next month, I encourage you to take a look back at 2017 as you prepare your people agenda for 2018.  And there are many more past happenings that will spill into the coming years (AI anyone?).

After all, aren’t you tired of talking about generations and performance reviews?  Kinda feels like the same conversation we had about casual Fridays…