What Should HR be Focusing on in 2020?

As we head into 2020, what should employers be focusing on to ensure they attract and retain the best of Jersey’s talent?

1.Keeping up with Employment Law 

In 2018, disability became a protected characteristic in Jersey giving Islanders with disabilities far more protection from discrimination. On 1st September 2020 the second part of this law will be enforced – reasonable adjustments to the workplace. Employers have had years to consider the physical changes that they can make to their premises to create greater access and opportunity for both employees and customers with disabilities and so let’s hope we see real action rather than excuses.
2020 is also the year in which Jersey’s mums and dads will achieve legal equality in terms of parental leave rights. A seismic shift in workplace and parenting culture is not expected overnight, but employers do need to make sure that their cultures support fathers who wish to take more parental leave over the coming years.  Employers will also need to ensure that they take reasonable steps to provide breast-feeding facilities within the workplace.

2. Closing the Gender Pay Gap

In 2019, two significant Island employers voluntarily shared their gender pay gap statistics – well done Government of Jersey and PwC. GOJ are now developing a strategy to help them close this gap which should (if they get it right) have a significant and positive impact for all public sector workers in Jersey when it comes to fairness and inclusion in the workplace.  Interestingly, at The Diversity Network’s ‘Mind the Gap’ event in November, Constable Richard Buchanan suggested that if other employers did not voluntarily follow suit, government would mandate for it. Our advice to employers is not to wait. Explore now how you can close your gender and other pay gaps rather than fall behind your competitors.

3. Navigating Change

Volatile, uncertain, complex and ambigious (VUCA) – the US military acronym, more recently adopted by the business world, certainly seems like an apt description of the current business climate for many. How you navigate this and predict what is coming is an extremely difficult problem for any business leader. HR practitioners should be keeping abreast of thinking around the possible impact on their organisations of Brexit and, in particular, the impact of any new immigration policies incoming in the next few years on their ability to recruit the best people. As well, as developing the organisation’s long term talent pipeline strategy and recruitment approach (clearly the wider net an organisation can cast locally the better), HR should be helping to create an agile, positive culture that is able to act quickly and take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

Change and uncertainty can be deeply stressful for employees too, so employers must consider how they can support an open and inclusive culture and clear and safe channels for people to communicate their concerns.

Economic volatility may also affect remuneration (particularly bonuses) and pension funding and so, again, a strong employee communication and engagement strategy is key.

4.  Enabling Inclusive Cultures to Stay Ahead of the Game

As you can see, it’s all about diversity and inclusion in 2020, so what other D&I related business trends might we see emerge?

Continuous Performance Management.  The annual appraisal is rapidly disappearing in the U.K. and being replaced by more regular two-way feedback mechanisms and the development of ‘feedback cultures’ where employees and managers feel able to feedback constructively to each other at the time – rather than 6 months down the line in a formal meeting. 

AI in recruitment.  Technology-driven solutions will enable greater innovation and fairness in recruitment and hiring practices. In the U.K., we’re seeing much faster candidate screening processes, time-saving ‘chat-bots’ and, with the opportunity for bias in the selection of candidates significantly reduced, an improvement in the quality of candidates.  

The most forward-thinking employers in Jersey are already adopting these solutions and others must follow suit if they want to attract a more diverse candidate base. Innovative solution-providers are popping up in Jersey so the opportunity is here.

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