Employers face numerous challenges every day and each year that can have significant impacts on their business. Often, it’s the HR related issues
that can cause the most stress and demand the most amount of resources, especially for small businesses.
In today’s ever-changing landscape of HR laws and regulations, a critical area of HR that employers of all sizes must prepare for is compliance. This must be executed with little room for error.
In early January, we hosted a webinar on the Top 10 HR Compliance Challenges for 2018
. As a follow up, we have put together this article that further explores these issues, why they are so important, and how companies can overcome these challenges in 2018 and beyond.
1) Workplace Harassment
While always present, workplace and sexual harassment became international news in 2017 with various scandals that came to the forefront in the entertainment industry. These revelations caused many employers to reflect on their workplace harassment policies and how they could be improved.
We have previously discussed the importance of workplace harassment prevention
and strong policies against such behavior at work. Following the steps and procedures listed in the article are a great first step to preventing instances of workplace harassment at your business. Workplace harassment is an issue that all employers, regardless of size, need to take seriously and do all that can be done to prevent.
2) Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and inclusion
are more of a challenge today than ever before. With an increase in laws and regulations focused on workplace diversity, companies have had to drastically alter their recruiting and HR policies to keep up and meet the strict compliance standards in place today.
Aside from staying compliant with the various employment laws as well as meeting the expectations of today’s workplace, having a diverse and inclusive workforce can have numerous positive impacts on a business and its employees:
- Increased productivity
- Less legal claims
- Improved company brand
- Increased employee engagement
- Less employee turnover
- Improved customer loyalty
Advocating for and creating a truly diverse and inclusive workforce is a must for all employers as we start 2018.
3) Federal Law Changes and the Affordable Care Act
Another topic that we have covered extensively on our blog was the extreme amount of uncertainty surrounding federal law and Affordable Care Act regulations
in 2017. It’s expected that more of the same will occur throughout 2018.
All this uncertainty is having significant impacts for employers and employees, especially when it comes to health insurance in the United States. With premiums rising to record highs, there’s even more uncertainty around what might happen at the end of this year.
Additionally, with the passing of the recent tax reform law, further compliance issues are likely to occur with regards to payroll over the next several months. For all federal law and ACA issues, it is critical for employers to stay up-to-date with the latest news and reach out for assistance when needed.
4) State and Local Laws
In addition to federal law changes, employers must stay compliant with all state and local updates
that occur. Some new or updated laws and regulations that employers must follow include:
- Pay equity laws
- Salary history bans
- EEO laws
- Minimum wage changes
- Paid sick leave and paid parental/family leave
- Reasonable accommodation laws
Much like federal law, employers should follow the latest news and updates surrounding their state and local laws. Do not hesitate to reach out for assistance if needed. By working with HR compliance experts and training staff about law changes accordingly, employers set themselves up to maintain compliance in 2018.
Talent acquisition and hiring in 2018 is more challenging and competitive than ever before. With the rise of passive candidates and increasing expectations of today’s talent, it’s a job seekers market now. This means that it will be harder than ever to attract and hire top candidates, especially for smaller employers.
To better compete for today’s job seekers, employers need to modify existing recruiting strategies and identify HR software to meet the expectations of digitally savvy talent. Employers also must keep new laws in mind, such as New York City’s salary history ban
, when updating their recruiting and onboarding procedures.
6) Workforce Planning and Technology
It’s not only job seekers who have shifting expectations in today’s business world. Employers must also make changes to meet the demands of their current workforce. Technology can help play a role in meeting these expectations.
Perks like flexible working arrangements, remote working, work-life balance and benefit offerings that include the latest trends are more important to employees today that in previous generations. Employers need to keep this in mind when planning for their workforce and implementing technology designed to improve the employee experience.
7) Data Security and Cyber Breaches
Another big story in 2017 involved data breaches at several large organizations, the biggest being a credit-reporting agency. The threat of cyber-attacks are ever present for all companies, including small businesses. Ensuring that all sensitive information is stored as securely as possible is a must for all organizations.
Offering employees voluntary benefits that address data protection, such as LifeLock, can be a valuable improvement to benefit plans. With this type of resource becoming more popular, keeping up with the competition and offering identity protection solutions to your workforce can be extremely valuable.
8) Employee Leave Policies
The expansion of leave laws are impacting employers in several states. New York
, New Jersey, California, and Rhode Island have all enacted their own state-level laws that require certain rights be given to employees when it comes to paid family leave.
This means employers in these states must meet the requirements at both the federal and state level to remain compliant. Companies in other states should also take notice, as chances are high that other states will follow and create their own paid leave laws in coming years.
Including updated leave policies in employee handbooks
and training staff on how to handle paid family leave requests are now essential for employers. Failure to do so could lead to severe fines and penalties.
9) Employee Wellness and Mental Health
The last several years have seen greater focus on employee wellness and wellbeing
, both physical and mental. Employer-offered resources, such as employee wellness programs and employee assistance programs (EAPs), are becoming more common in workplaces.
Employers are also becoming much more aware and proactive when it comes to employee mental health. They are including resources in their wellness programs to address this critical area of employee wellbeing.
While employee wellness programs and EAPs may sound like expensive resources to add, the right HR partnership can make them available to your workforce. This is something all employers, especially small businesses, should consider adding for employees in 2018.
10) Employee Benefits
There’s no understating just how important employee benefits are today. Being able to offer a competitive benefits plan can make all the difference when it comes to hiring top talent. However, gaining access to these types of benefits can be a challenge for small businesses.
Improving benefit plans and perks
can lead to an increase in employee engagement, happiness, and wellbeing. They can also greatly assist with reducing employee turnover. Working with a PEO can help small employers gain access to large-group level benefits that can help them better compete in today’s market.
Missed Out on Our HR Compliance Webinar?
In case you were unable to join us for our HR compliance challenges webinar, you can view the recording below!
Want to learn more about PEOs? Check out our eBook, How Well Do You Know PEO? This eBook provides an overview of the PEO industry as well as helpful information for brokers and employers!