Spring Cleaning for your HR Department (3 of 3): Workplace Trends

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With spring in bloom, it’s a great time to get caught up on making your workplace work for you. There are many great ways to take some time this spring and set a high standard for your company for the rest of the year. We’ve already discussed the importance of updating (or developing) your employee handbook as well as developing an effective Employee Engagement program. Now we will take a look at just a few of the current workplace trends that can get you on track for the rest of the year.

Social Responsibility. More than ever, companies are realizing the importance of social responsibility. Some companies focus on environmental sustainability as a key part of their social responsibility plan. Workplaces are shifting to more environmentally friendly materials as well as practices. Also, companies are realizing the importance of giving back to the community, not only as a branding tool, but as an engagement technique for its employees.

Workplace Health and Safety. With the rising cost of health insurance, companies are utilizing wellness programs to reduce their premiums. Companies should consider using a program like ERC Health, which has a built in wellness program. (Yes, that was a shameless plug.) Some employers are going as far as instituting a smoke-free workplace in which employees must take tests for tobacco use.

Employee Relations. Strategic recruiting is becoming more important due to the high demand for skilled workers. Employers are beginning to focus marketing efforts on careers and employment. Having an updated career center on your company website is becoming increasingly important. Also, many companies are addressing the challenges of a multi-generational workplace. Communication among employees is also rapidly transitioning from traditional forms, and employers are beginning to focus on training employees how to communicate effectively and appropriately.

Rewards, Compensation & Benefits. Employers are starting to find solutions to the issue of the aging workforce. Many companies are instituting phased retirement, among other programs. Rewards programs are becoming an important recruitment tool for top talent. These programs, along with initatives like career development and work/life balance are becoming part of companies’ retention strategies.

Technology. Through use of pervasive social networking sites such as Facebook and Myspace, employers are able to find out more and more about applicants, and applicants are becoming more careful about what they post on these pages. As social recruiting techniques increase in popularity, it is probable that some regulation of these techniques will arise. Technology also lends to new HR practices like remote interviewing, real-time employee schedules, and online employee opinion surveys.

These are just a few of the ways that the workplace is evolving. To view more workplace trends, view SHRM’s Workplace Trends List. What can you do based on these trends? Take some time this spring and make it an initative to focus on one of your HR practices and improve it.

Source: SHRM 2007-2008 Workplace Trends List
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