Happy New Year from Deminos! We hope you had a fun and festive Christmas break, and are back at work feeling refreshed and ready for 2018.
With the new year now underway, we’re looking at the top HR and employment law priorities that we believe employers should be looking at over the coming twelve months.
On the 25th May 2018, the Data Protection Act will be replaced by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The new legislation tightens up the rules on how businesses can use and store personal data, and failure to comply will lead to heavy fines of up to €20 million, or 4% of the company’s annual worldwide turnover.
As a result, it’s imperative for business owners to prepare adequately for the changes. We advise reading our blog post about the GDPR, or downloading our free whitepaper on what you will need to do to be compliant with the new laws.
2. Employment tribunal fees
Last July’s Supreme Court ruling that employment tribunal fees were unlawful will continue to affect businesses into the new year.
According to figures from Acas, demand for their Early Conciliation service increased by over 20% over the two months following the decision, with around a 60% increase in tribunal claims compared to the same period the previous year.
Employers should review their policies regarding grievances, disciplinary procedures, discrimination and be sure they’re acting fairly if dismissing staff.
3. Employee engagement
Employee engagement is a continuous process, so will remain a priority for 2018. The importance of a motivated, committed workforce becomes all the more important following the reports of how poor UK productivity was towards the end of 2017.
In order to boost productivity, the government announced its industrial strategy to reverse the trend. The focus of the strategy is firmly on people, aiming to transform the economy through “good jobs and greater earning power for all.”
4. Learning and development
As part of employee engagement, employers should look to prioritise learning and development within their workforce. This gives employees the chance to learn new skills and progress as professionals, but also allows an employer to retain their most talented employees and remain competitive during uncertain economic times.
Advances in technology make it easier than ever for employees to learn new skills, with tools such as eLearning allowing flexible, practical training on the job.
5. Flexible working
Another reason for talented employees wanting to leave their job is a poor work-life balance. An experienced employee who has children may find they cannot work their usual hours anymore, as they have to collect their children from school. If their employer cannot accommodate their needs, they’ll eventually have little choice but to find one that will.
To avoid losing their best people, employers should look into how they can best introduce a flexible working culture. Employees do have the right to request flexible working, and employers have a legal obligation to consider granting it. However, making it something that is “frowned upon” can damage a business in the long term.