Gender identity, sexual orientation, and sexual assault awareness are among some of the topics that have polarized the political sphere in the recent months. A vast majority of business owners have opted to keep politics out of their work spaces, rather than running the risk of alienating an employee or customer by taking a political stance. However, in the wake of scandals, corruption, and social movements such as #MeToo, lawmakers have been prompted to make meaningful changes to a variety of different employment laws and regulations. Many states have recently amended or adopted Equal Employment Opportunity laws to address concerns that have bubbled up to the surface of public opinion. Organizational Leaders should be looking inward and asking themselves, “Are our policies and processes still oriented to effectively meet the needs of our employees and protect our organization?”
What should affected employers do?
Performing a preemptive review of policies, procedures, and hiring practices is the best course of action. Early in my career I had the pleasure of working in conjunction with a medical malpractice attorney who wisely said, “An attorney’s fee is incurred each time a company creates ambiguity in a contract, or doesn’t review their policies on a regular basis.” In many industries laws and regulations change rapidly, and many employers find themselves quickly vulnerable to potential employment-related issues. The law changes vary, but many place requirements and emphasis on concepts such as:
Harassment training and prevention
Policies and procedures concerning retaliation
Providing accommodations for individuals now covered by the revisions
Addressing safety considerations for those who have been victim to assault, domestic violence, harassment, etc.
Is enacting policy changes enough?
Making revisions to policies on the backend is critical to success. However, employee training on a regular basis is where the rubber meets the road. Studies show that employees denote a lack of communication from leadership as being the most common reason for workplace related issues. Well-written policies are valuable, so long as they are appropriately delineated amongst the staff. Designing an exceptional training program can be a challenge, and requires specific expertise in the field of Human Resources. Fortunately, there are many resources available nationwide to assist any organization in achieving training excellence. Training regularity is also an important factor in keeping employees in the know. Repeating training procedures every 6 months is a great place to start, but company size, turnover, goals, and resources are truly what should dictate the frequency.
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Michael Chiovitti, Chief Talent Strategist
Eden Resources, LLC