the buzz on hr

January 9, 2018

4 Important Issues Missing from the Top 2018 HR Trends

Last week, I wrote about the Top 5 HR Trends for 2018. If you haven’t already, please check them out.

However, there are some important issues in our world-place that are impacting our workplace that were missing from that list. And I couldn’t get too much further into the year without speaking on them.

Here’s what’s missing from the Top 2018 HR Trends (once again, in no particular order):

  • Stopping Cultural Insensitivity. We witnessed epic fails by Pepsi and Dove soap and Papa John’s Pizza and several other brands at dog-whistle diversity attempts last year resulting in public embarrassment, online annihilation and loss of sales. In each case, Executives carefully chose imagery and words without regard for negative cultural references and flat-out appropriation. The same thing happens on smaller scale in our organizations in our conversations and communications. These are called micro-aggressions. HR must get educated about this and actively work toward addressing this in our workplaces, especially in our branding and engagement communications. Talk about this in your trainings on harassment and add this topic to your conversations about inclusion. If you want to have diversity in your organization and you want the diverse people to stay and feel respected and valued, being culturally sensitive is a must for your as an employer and in all the services your organization provides.
  • Addressing Gender Pay Inequity. 2017 ended with a bang following the rebirth of the #MeToo movement and 2018 has kicked off with a vengeance with the #TimesUp movement. However, both of these movements are focused on women not facing gender or sexual harassment in the workplace. I am excited by this and support it fully. It doesn’t address the fact that, harassed or not, White women are still only making $0.78 for every $1 paid to a man and Women of Color make even less. There’s just as large a pay gap for Men of Color as well. We cannot lose sight of this fight in our efforts to keep up with all the good anti-harassment work that’s going on. We have to do both. Equal pay for equal work for all. Period. HR must actively look at our compensation structures and pay ranges for similarly situated positions to make sure there are no unwarranted, inexplicable gaps. When we find them, we must do what is necessary to close the gap.
  • Support for Social Activism and Support. Employees and customers these days want to know what organizations and leaders stand for and support — so they can decide if they want to stand beside you. If you aren’t actively supporting anything, your employees and customers are watching and judging harshly. There were many horrific events that happened in our world in 2017 that should make you want to get involved. Many areas are still recovering following hurricanes, fires and terrorist attacks. Find a way to help. Whether you use that for a PR opportunity is up to you — but help with sincerity.
  • Denouncing White Supremacy. I get that we don’t know what we don’t know about people’s beliefs and ideologies. But once a person or organization shows you who they are, believe them. And if they show you that they are a supremacist, stop doing business with them. Be direct and specific when you end the business relationship so they know the reason is because of their supremacist views. Go public if you have to. But don’t keep giving your time and money to people and organizations who don’t value diversity, inclusion, sensitivity and fairness (unless you don’t value it either).

These issues should be trending and front of mind in our organizations and HR departments at such a time as this.

But they’re not.

Because the work associated with these issues is hard, heavy, thankless and uncomfortable. Most organizations aren’t ready for this work. Most HR people aren’t ready for this work.

This is not right … but it’s OK. Most of the world isn’t ready for this work, either.

My advice to HR in the meanwhile? Study. Get ready. Have a plan for when the reckoning comes.

Because it’s coming — and it won’t be much longer.


  1. Zinny

    January 15th, 2018 at 8:07 pm

    You’ve highlighted key points that HR should look into this year and moving forward. And just like you stated, HR needs to study as well as train staff concerning these issues. I think these issues have started being addressed, it’s just taking some time to get actualized outside theory. Great post!

  2. Sarah Morgan

    January 15th, 2018 at 11:49 pm

    Thanks, Zinny! I agree. D&I has been seen as a compliance issue and not part of recruiting and retention. The world is shifting and most of HR finds itself on its heels in knowing what to do. Conversation and training is a must.

  3. Amy

    January 29th, 2018 at 10:16 am

    Interesting article, there are certainly points that are worth reading! The fact that women still make less money then man for doing thesame work is the most important one for me.

  4. Sarah Morgan

    January 30th, 2018 at 2:05 am

    This is a very important issue. Systemic racism and sexism are real. We have to work together to make our workplaces and worldplaces better places.

  5. Robin Joseph

    March 7th, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    Nice list Sarah. These are really some serious HR issues. Gender pay inequality is an important point you raised in the article. Inequality in paying is one of the most bad practices prevailed in organisations. You can also add importance of culture fit hiring in an organisation.

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