Discrimination and unconscious bias are still common in the workplace even as the discussion about diversity has expanded, writes Dana Theus. "Our workplaces are not diverse when we look through the leadership lens, and the more we understand how diverse people actually are, the less diverse our organizations look by comparison," Theus writes.
Chief HR officers will become more involved next year in keeping employees engaged, interpreting data and identifying business trends, says Scott Kelly, CHRO at Hitachi Vantara. "It's critical for CHROs to hone their business expertise and continue to constantly seek new information to expand their knowledge," Kelly says.
Supporting women in the workplace should be a team effort that begins with leaders identifying biases and educating employees about discrimination and harassment, writes Vivian Maza, Ultimate Software's chief people officer. Offer benefits that appeal to all types of employees, mentor women, set up networking programs and ask for feedback often, Maza writes.
Make the employee experience part of your business strategy by appointing someone to organize these efforts and offering a central place where workers can get their questions answered, writes Keith Perske, head of workplace innovation at Colliers International. "This model acknowledges the simple fact that the pressures of life affect performance in the workplace," he writes.
Employers should use health care case managers to monitor workers' health and devise plans for those returning to the job after an illness or injury, writes Pete Clark. Case managers can help diagnose illnesses, suggest therapy plans, make accommodations and help workers manage their health care obligations.
Employee wellness will continue to be a popular benefit next year, but David Johnson of Segal Consulting says programs are moving away from cash incentives because they do not drive long-term behavioral change. Other trends include student-loan payment assistance, identity theft coverage, health reimbursement plans and digital health options.
More companies are realizing a lack of sleep leads to a lack of productivity, among other issues, and are implementing ways for employees to rest and to disconnect from work. Google has introduced sleep pods; Nike has created sleep and meditation areas; and marketing agency Reboot has allocated office space to tired employees and has cut off after-hours work email.