HR Trends and Best Practices to Remain Compliant

Keeping a pulse on management, compliance, and best practices associated with your most valuable assets – your employees – is critical to becoming an exceptional workplace. Human resources (HR) encompasses a broad range of topics. Everything from recruiting through retirement is relevant to your employees. Moreover, like most things in life, HR can be significantly impacted by technology, media, and seemingly, ever-changing laws. As an organization immersed in the field of HR, we see the following HR topics trending and impacting today’s workforce. In addition to providing you with background information and data, we’ve included insight into best practices in each of these areas. Consider these HR trends and best practices to remain competitive and compliant in these areas.

5 HR Trends to becoming an exceptional workplace.

HR Trends: #1 Recruiting

Recruiting is the first interaction you have with and the first impression you have on your future employees. It is your chance to highlight your organization’s culture and stress the benefits of working for your organization. Also, you need to remain compliant throughout the process to avoid litigation or hefty fines. Therefore, creating a strong recruiting strategy and using best hiring practices will help you compete for the best talent while remaining compliant.

Best Practices

Create a recruiting process with proper documentation.

Ensure all of your internal HR staff and hiring managers know those processes. Collect and keep appropriate documentation. This includes a completed application, an interview evaluation form from each interviewer, and a clean copy of the candidate’s resume. If you consistently utilize these documents to evaluate, you know you’re evaluating them all in the same way. For example, you know you’ll be asking each candidate the same list of questions. They’ll each fill out the same application. While your interview evaluation forms may contain different questions depending on the position, the type of information obtained from each candidate will remain consistent.

Store documentation for at least two years.

You should keep copies of the documentation listed above for a minimum of two years. Start the clock after you select and successfully onboard your new hire.  Be mindful that some states may have more strict record keeping laws than two years or other recommendations. Keeping this documentation will prove helpful should you ever encounter litigation regarding discriminatory hiring practice claims. This may also be helpful to succession planning when you speak with more than one qualified candidate. It will allow you to grow your candidate database. It’s great to keep in touch with those that may be a good fit for your organization down the road.

Eliminate salary history questions.

Compensate individuals performing the same job functions in the same manner. While you can find wage gaps between any two people performing the same job, the gender wage gap is a current hot topic. When you ask for salary history on a job application or in an interview, it can be tempting to offer a candidate less compensation if they have a history of lower compensation. This puts the individual in a holding pattern of lower payment and contributes to the wage gap issue. Many states are now recognizing this conundrum and consider the question illegal on applications.

It may still be pertinent to understand if a candidate’s salary requirements fit the range for your position. You don’t want to waste time if they’re entirely out of the ballpark. However, it’s more useful to focus on questions to gauge their level of education and experience related to the position.  You may also ask candidates about their salary expectations. Eliminating salary history from your application, interview process, and background checks will assist with compliance and fair pay.

HR Trends: #2 Harassment and Discrimination

tandem hr, hr trends and best practicesThere’s been an increase of high profile sexual harassment cases in the media over the past year. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), 85% of women claim they have been sexually harassed at work. Victims began the #metoo movement in late 2017, a hashtag used on social media to demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace. The attention to this issue has forced business owners and lawmakers to take a more in-depth look at the problem. What can businesses can do to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace?

Best Practices

Develop a zero tolerance policy.

First of all, develop an anti-harassment and discrimination policy. Keep it with all of your other policies in your employee handbook. Always obtain a signed receipt acknowledging the employee received, read, and understands the content within it.

Identify the reporting process.

Another best practice is to offer employees multiple people to whom employees can report any harassment or discrimination incidents. This will avoid any obstacles should a complaint be made about the reporting contact themselves. Furthermore, you may wish to consider appointing a male and a female reporting contact. Employees may feel more comfortable approaching one or the other, depending on the nature of the incident.

Train regularly.

Once you’ve established a policy and a process for reporting, conduct harassment training regularly for all employees. Ninety-four percent of surveyed HR professionals told the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) that their organizations have anti-harassment policies. Yet, 22 percent of non-management employees did not know for sure that these policies even existed. It is not enough to simply have the policies. Education is key. While we recommend training sessions every two years, some state laws are more stringent. Also, know the laws that apply to your business and create a training program for compliance.

HR Trends: #3 Employee Leave

Many states and municipalities are adopting employee leave laws. While great for the employee, it adds another administrative burden on the employer’s plate. Additionally, it presents a unique challenge for employers with employees in multiple locations with differing laws.

Best Practices

Understand local laws and determine how your business will comply.

Take a look at all of the laws regarding sick leave, family leave, military leave, bereavement leave, blood donor leave, domestic violence leave, emergency responder leave and school activities leave. If you employ staff in multiple locations, you need to decide if you will create one policy that adheres to the most stringent of laws or if you will have different policies for each location. Also, understand what information you need to track with these leave benefits.

Train all managers.

Managers need to know and understand employees’ rights. Also, they need to be trained on how to handle, track, document, manage and schedule each of the leave requests you provide.

Inform your employees of their rights.

Informing employees of their rights will ensure they are aware of the boundaries of any leave requests. You should place the information where it is easily accessible. If you put it in your employee handbook, employees can refer to it at any time.  When you’re open about employees’ rights, it shows you care about them and their situations. That you are not only concerned about your business, but also the employees that help you run that business.

HR Trends: #4 Workplace Violence

tandem hrNearly 2 million American workers report having been the victims of workplace violence each year, according to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA).  Common forms of workplace violence, such as threats, verbal abuse, harassment or intimidation, many of which may go unreported, need to be addressed within your policy and training strategies.

Best Practices

Develop a clear zero-tolerance harassment and workplace violence policy.

State the policy clearly and specifically in your employee handbook.  Remember that workplace violence can go beyond worksite employees to include patients, clients, visitors, or contractors. Your policy language should consist of anyone who may come in contact with your employees on the job.

Don’t forget to include the actions you with the employee to take they’re a witness or victim. Additionally, outline the consequences of participating in workplace violence.

Enforce the policy regularly and consistently.

Inconsistencies lead to confusion among employees and leave employers vulnerable to lawsuits. Make sure that every manager is handling the situations consistently.

Offer regular anti-harassment and violence training sessions to your employees.

Reiterate what employees should do about known harassment and ensure management knows how to handle any incidents reported or observed. Include tips in your training sessions. For example, a manager or HR staff that needs to terminate an individual or delivers any message that may cause an employee to ‘lose it,’ should always physically position themselves in the room near an exit. They may get trapped inside a room with a violent person when there are obstacles between them and the door.

Keep a pulse on relationships within the workplace.

When employees seem to be leaning toward hostility, encourage meetings between them, their manager, and an HR professional.  Then, address the behavior directly. They need the opportunity, tools, and resources to correct their behavior before it turns into an act of violence.

It is every employee’s right to a safe work environment. The best employers will proactively put programs in place to minimize or alleviate workplace violence for a more productive and positive workforce.

HR Trends: #5 Drug-Free Workplace

Have you ever suspected an employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol?  Did you turn your head, questioning your judgment?  Or perhaps you were hesitant to handle the matter on your own?

According to the American Council for Drug Education, drug and alcohol abusers are a huge liability. They are ten times more likely to miss work, 3.6 times more likely to be involved in on-the-job accidents, five times more likely to file a worker’s compensation claim, 33% less productive, and responsible for health care costs that are three times as high. Because of these staggering statistics force organizations to consider their policies and the use of reasonable suspicion drug testing.

Best Practices

Include a checklist of signs of drug and alcohol use in your policy.

In your checklist, include appropriate signs that an employee may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol:

  • Unsteady walking
  • Unusual speech patterns
  • Erratic behavior
  • Hyperactivity or drowsiness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Strong alcohol odor on the breath

Including this in your policy will help your managers determine when they should conduct reasonable suspicion drug testing without discrimination.

Train your managers to identify these signs.

You’re starting to see a pattern here! Training management and key personnel is vital to remaining compliant in a wide range of areas. Drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace is no exception. Create a training program for all managers so they know your policies and how to handle incidents.

Institute reasonable suspicion drug testing.

If you suspect an employee is performing work under the influence, confirm your suspicions to keep everyone safe. You can only do this if you have a reasonable suspicion drug testing policy in place.  Certainly, the employee handbook is the ideal location for all policies, including this one.

Therefore, it is always important to keep a pulse on employee-related matters to remain and compliant. You can find resources and tools on the above topics and more at Also, you may choose to stay informed on hot HR topics by entering your information in the Stay Informed box at the bottom of this page.

Tandem HR

Tandem HR is an IRS-certified professional employer organization (CPEO), assisting small and mid-sized organizations with custom HR solutions to fit their culture and remain compliant. Visit for more information.