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theHRDIRECTOR – August 2017 – Issue 154

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Synopsis – Issue 154 – August 2017

Employment Law & Future Legislation
Unavoidably, Brexit dominates employment law as speculation about what will remain, be replaced or repealed continues to be hotly-debated. With roughly 40,000 pieces of employment law to sift through, there is a good deal to consider, but in more recent times, it is legislation that bends and bows to accommodate the changes in the world of work, as opposed to employers having to react and adapt to incoming law. In this issue, we will take a look at the big ticket legislation that is likely to kick in and impact in the near term. A pressing issue is freedom of movement; the Prime Minister has said that legal rights will be guaranteed during her period in office, but in the long-term, it is impossible to call and picture how this will be framed. Zero hours contracts, widely-adopted, but increasingly contentious, and yet in step with the new way of working, such as the gig economy. Corporate Governance, increasingly complex, punitive and, as many opine, commercially curtailing; gender pay gap reporting, shining a bright and telling light into the crevices of almost all organisations, now fearful of the cost of inequality, potentially going back decades. Meanwhile, domestically, the Trade Union Act 2016 is changing the rules on industrial action and organisations are grappling with the detail. All in all, there has never been a more disruptive time for employment law, and we welcome your expertise and predictions, as the country takes its tentative steps into the cold, sobering sea of reality.

Managing Career Development
What used to be a corporate skyscraper is now a bungalow, so the traditional career ladder is as redundant as the reverse gear in Donald Trump’s limo. We are now managing employees in a short-term tenure culture, to the point now that, if they stay for the duration of their induction, then that is a result. The notion that career development is about waiting around long enough to fill dead men’s/women’s shoes is ancient history, the CV is about the lifelong process of learning, experiences, leisure and transitions, a personal journey to betterment, not necessarily dictated by the inexorable quest for more money. Career development is seismically shifting as the flatter workplace structure heralds in a new relationship between peers, a mutual level based on expertise and responsibility, as opposed to hierarchical management roles. Therefore, organisations need to adapt, in order to provide for employees developing organically and rapidly, and who expect autonomy as opposed to mandatory direction and instruction. So the necessity to balance personal development with business need is a constantly moving narrative, which can only be achieved through the super-fluidity of big data and analytics, working silently, but appropriately to achieve consistent outcomes for all parties. However, over-reliance on technology is a concern and improving line manager capability to adapt is paramount. As much as Tesco knows what you generally eat on a Thursday night, so employers must always anticipate the career expectations and objectives of employees, but leave them to take the lead. And it’s not just about millennials and Gen Z, the multi-generational workforce is a game changer, occupying a lot of thought, and with employees potentially working until 75, the career incentive is the most effective way of keeping people relevant, with the necessary skills and capabilities.

Forward Planning and Future Strategy
In terms of future planning, again, Brexit looms large. EU exit impacts on every aspect of commercial endeavour and, with Article 50 triggered, businesses can now at least contemplate the future. So as leaders go about creating the route-map, navigating uncertain seas, what are the key considerations? For HR, the burning platform remains the skills crisis, which shows no sign of abating, and so a critical eye has to be cast on employee attraction; a cohesive and effective L&D programme, and above all else remaining agile to change and disruption. In terms of aligning resources with business objective, never before has there been such a level of complexity and opportunity, the latter of which simply will not be realised to any meaningful extent, if the organisation operates in traditional modes, right from attraction and recruitment, through to succession management and leader development. For now, the nebulous nature of commerce is being matched by that of human resources, and technology is of course a constant, driving force, so the capacity to keep on the leading tech curve is make or break. On the subject of digital, ensuring the business has big data analytical capacity is paramount to future planning. Clearly collaboration will be essential throughout departments, as leaders, teams and line managers struggle to retain synergy and common purpose. Star gazers, horizon watchers and Brexit strategists are invited to provide their most learned pontifications for the future.

Personal Education and Support
Aside from the skills and capabilities to do the job, what employees need more than ever before is greater financial education at work, and yet more UK companies do not provide financial education to their staff, than do, despite money worries being cited as the number one cause of stress and illness, which in turn impacts of absenteeism and loss of performance. Barely ten percent of employees even understand their pension pot, and most struggle to manage money. Clearly there is a missed opportunity to create a Personal Education Plan (PEP), to support, educate and develop people in key personal areas, creating a relationship of trust and support between employer and employee that is eroding in the increasingly remote and autonomous working environment. So what is possible and how can it be best promoted and delivered? The potential applications are many; including health and wellbeing; but financial education is a useful platform to exemplify the potential – whether it be advice on managing student debt, to getting on the housing level, to pension planning, savings and managing debt. To optimise these opportunities, key is to create a culture of personal-responsibility, along with appropriate and effective digital platforms that are easy to access and are compelling to engage with. With effective communication, building relationships, trust and training line managers, PES as significant potential in maintaining closer ties and building loyalty. Experts in the field are invited to provide their insight and expertise, as with all the subjects covered in this issue.

 

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