Human resources (HR) is a crucial department within any organization, as it plays a critical role in managing the people who make up the workforce. It’s common knowledge that HR is responsible for recruiting, training, retaining, and developing employees. However, HR members are also responsible for ensuring compliance with employment laws and regulations, as well as fostering a positive workplace culture.
In recent years, the role of HR has evolved beyond these traditional responsibilities. HR is now tasked with driving organizational transformation and aligning its people and business strategies. In order for HR to contribute effectively to the growth of the business and be effective in this expanded role, it needs to be more methodical in its approach.
In other words, HR must elevate its position to be on par with leadership.
To comprehend where to properly apply their efforts, HR leaders must establish a good rapport with business clients.
Building a bond of trust will help them understand the underlying causes of their clients’ work business concerns and determine optimal ways for achieving the goals set.
Here are some key methods HR can use to elevate its position.
The first step is to understand the business. HR needs to analyze the company’s goals and objectives and then identify which workforce needs are required in order to achieve them. Leaders should demand to be included in the organization’s management team and strategic planning efforts.
By working closely with senior management, HR can gain a deeper understanding of the organization’s goals and strategies. This understanding can help HR ensure that the organization has the right people, skills, and capabilities to achieve its goals.
Collaborate With Business Leaders
HR leaders must collaborate with key leaders from other departments, such as finance, IT, and marketing. This collaboration ensures that businesses make economic decisions regarding talent management, granting employees the necessary tools and resources to remain productive and helping organizations become more desirable employers. It allows the organization to run smoothly and achieve its objectives.
Change Prediction and Management
Organizational transformation requires significant change, and HR can play a critical role in helping businesses stay on top of the most recent trends and manage them. HR leaders need to remain current on all internal and external changes, as these can tremendously impact the business. To stay competitive in the job market, it’s vital to be aware of what the latest tools and systems are, as well as other changes in technology.
By elevating its position, HR can provide leadership and guidance to employees and help them navigate the changes that come with this and any other organizational transformation.
Data analytics is an integral part of the modern workforce. In particular, HR roles are far more dependent on data-driven insights than ever before.
HR must establish a performance management system aligning with the company’s goals and objectives. This involves setting clear expectations for employees, providing regular feedback on their performance, and using data to identify areas for improvement.
Modern technology has enabled HR managers to take proactive action and utilize data for making intelligent forecasts regarding the possibility of employee turnover, recognizing employees predisposed to climb up the corporate ladder, and fine-tuning the work atmosphere, etc.
Attracting and Managing Talent
Talent acquisition is one of the most critical functions of HR. It involves building a strong employer brand, implementing an effective recruitment process, and hiring for long-term success. HR needs to create an environment that attracts top talent to the organization. This can be achieved by promoting the company’s values, culture, and opportunities for growth.
Retaining top talent is critical to the success of any organization. By elevating its position, HR can develop and implement effective talent management strategies that enable the organization to attract and retain the best people.
HR Needs to Fight for a Seat at the Table
Being an effective team member goes beyond just working quietly in the background; they need to have their voices heard. HR leaders must recognize and articulate the bottom-line impacts of their own initiatives. This will further enable decision-makers to recognize the impact of their efforts on the bottom line.
Therefore, it’s important to measure, track, and communicate the success of your activities to ensure your contribution isn’t overlooked. By doing so, HR can contribute significantly to the growth and success of the organization.
There are several reasons companies should pay attention to the potential Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) trends for 2023 and prepare accordingly. As the EEOC targets which areas of human rights and protection it wants to focus on for the next few years, companies scramble to anticipate where they might be falling short. One key area of focus is on promoting diversity and inclusivity within the workplace, particularly concerning the LGBTQ+ community and ADA rights.
The EEOC has indicated that it will be closely monitoring the treatment of LGBTQ+ individuals in the workplace, particularly with regard to harassment and discrimination. Companies should take proactive measures to create a safe and inclusive workplace for all employees, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
In addition to promoting diversity, companies should also consider implementing training programs to educate employees on the importance of creating an inclusive workplace. This includes providing resources and support for LGBTQ+ employees, such as employee advocacy groups and non-discrimination policies.
What is driving the EEOC trends, and what can businesses do to prepare?
Litigating Power in 2023
The EEOC is composed of five individuals. In 2023, it is anticipated that the political balance will tip to the left and there will be a democratic majority. With the goal of worker equality through employer accountability and employee recourse, the EEOC democratic majority could flex its power to investigate and prosecute cases of discrimination.
Add to that, the 60-million dollar budget increase, and the commission will have the motive and the means to more aggressively pursue EEOC-Initiated Litigation for the foreseeable future.
Protecting Diversity in Industry
As the primary federal agency responsible for enforcing laws against discrimination in the workplace, the EEOC recently released its Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) for 2023 through 2027.
During the fiscal year 2022, its plan of action included the following:
- Addressing selected developing issues
- Preventing systemic harassment
- Eliminating recruiting and hiring barriers
- Protecting vulnerable workers
- Ensuring equal pay protections
- Preserving access to the legal system
To that, the proposed SEP for 2023-2027 includes additional measures to protect people with pregnancy-related medical conditions and LGBTQ+ individuals in the workplace.
Diversity has been missing in many industries, including construction and many high-tech fields, which are rapidly growing sectors that receive a lot of governmental support. This is something that needs to be addressed urgently.
Systemic cases are generally given priority when it comes to pursuing legal action against discrimination. However, if an individual or a small group brings up a policy, practice, or pattern of discrimination that needs to be addressed, then their claim may also be considered.
Recent Trends in Litigation…
Recently, some of the worst cases of discrimination the EEOC has uncovered have been in the construction industry.
Due to the $1.2 trillion federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Congress passed in 2021, the EEOC feels obligated to ensure the massive budget isn’t used to haphazardly promote or enable harassment or discrimination in the field. During the last half of 2022, the EEOC filed multiple lawsuits with construction firms that resulted in $2.8 million in settlements.
Further LGBTQ+ Protections
In 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 could be used as the grounds for sex discrimination cases since gay or transgender employees would fall under its umbrella of protection. As mentioned in their report, this was seen as an incredible victory for the EEOC.
Considered a leader in promoting people’s rights within the LGBTQ+ community, the EEOC is constantly striving to expand its protections under existing statutes. Further expanding laws like Title VII could help maximize their enforcement efforts to ensure that everyone is treated fairly.
Republicans, however, could claim that this effort by the EEOC to push LGBTQ+ rights beyond their current scope is an abuse of its power. They may push back.
Similarly, in June 2021, the EEOC issued guidance to businesses giving LGBTQ+ workers exemptions from workplace policies on dress codes and regarding bathrooms and locker rooms. A later federal ruling sided with critics and stated that using the 2020 ruling as the legal precedent for expanding Title VII was premature. It basically concluded that the ruling is not definitive and there was much to be considered and many areas to be litigated in the future.
By making the effort to build an atmosphere of inclusivity in the workplace, employers can invite greater diversity to their company. This creates a more positive setting for a productive workforce and encourages a broader range of new talent, which is a win-win for all involved.
By prioritizing diversity and creating an environment where workers feel included and valued, companies will be better equipped to navigate possible legal challenges and avoid litigation related to discrimination.