Human resources departments across the country are going into 2018 with a lot on their minds. Not surprisingly, the workplace topic everyone’s talking about right now makes their list of greatest challenges: sexual harassment.
That’s according to a survey conducted in October by XpertHR of more than 1,000 small, medium, and large employers.
“Each new year brings changes in the workplace, government, society, culture, technology and the legal landscape that translate into challenges and obstacles for employers,” states The Top 15 Most Challenging HR Compliance Issues for 2018.
“A review of the top issues an employer needs to consider would be remiss without a mention of the issue that has shown up on almost every employer’s radar over the course of the last few months,” the report states.
“From government to entertainment to Fortune 500 companies to the media to the halls of Congress, it seems that sexual harassment has become an even greater risk for employers as the issue continues to boil up and come to the forefront.”
In addition to sexual harassment, HR professionals are concerned about social media, cybersecurity, workplace violence, and a number of timely political issues such as immigration and the Affordable Care Act.
They also count diversity as one of their top challenges for 2018. Almost 25% of respondents admit they’re very or extremely challenged by developing a culture of inclusion, 29% say they are very or extremely challenged with recruiting a more diverse workforce, and 33% are very or extremely challenged by increasing minorities in leadership roles.
The whitepaper notes a number of benefits to diverse workplaces, such as:
- Increasing employee productivity
- Reducing legal claims
- Improving internal and public image and brand
- Increasing customer loyalty and engagement
- Increasing the ability to communicate with customers
- Increasing sales and profits
- Increasing employee retention
- Bringing new ideas, perspectives, and viewpoints to the table leading to creativity, innovation, and new ideas
- Providing the best talent possible from the widest pool of potential employees
- Enhancing adaptability in a changing and increasingly diverse marketplace
“It is critical to understand that diversity starts at the top and there must be commitment by upper management to align diversity efforts with business goals and corporate strategies,” the report states. “Having key stakeholders, including HR and upper management, committed to creating a diverse workplace is essential.”
The report also offers recommendations for employers to overcome the challenge of creating a diverse workplace. It starts with the hiring process and the onboarding of new employees.
Companies should have policies in place against discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. They should provide diversity and sensitivity training. And they should create opportunities for building relationships, such a mentoring programs and affinity groups.
“It is important to create an inclusive workplace in which all employees feel valued and respected,” the report states, “and where they can actively contribute to the employer’s success.”