Start of the new calendar year is the perfect time for reflections and recapitulations, and that’s true in business as much as in personal life. For the Canadian workforce management industry, 2018 looks very interesting, with several major trends continuing to develop and assume new forms. While some of those trends may be disruptive and discomforting for established companies, they also represent an opportunity to innovate and search for better solutions for long-standing problems.
Here are a few areas that HR professionals should pay attention to during the upcoming year:
Growth of the gig economy
Numerous skilled workers are leaving full-time jobs and continuing their careers online, selling their services by the hour. According to some estimates, between 20 and 30% of all workers in Canada are already earning their livelihood without a fixed salary, and the number could grow sharply in 2018. Employers have to account for this tendency, both in terms of replacing those who leave to become freelancers and perhaps by outsourcing some tasks to this channel. It will be interesting to see how the increased availability of online jobs affects the growth of wages for low and medium income workers.
Regulating marijuana use at work
From July 1st, recreational marijuana will become legal in the entire country, so businesses could expect new challenges. Some employees might see the analogy with tobacco and try to consume weed on their cigarette breaks, but most bosses might prefer to compare pot to alcohol and not permit their workers to be under its influence during office hours. This question is especially sensitive for workers who operate dangerous machines, or those who are in direct contact with customers. In absence of nation-wide rules, every company will have to come up with its own tolerance level and penalties for offenders.
Automation and hosted services
This is not a new trend, but it is gaining steam quickly. Biometric systems for employee time tracking are the new standard, since they bring clear advantages to the table in comparison with traditional methods. Companies that haven’t installed employee management software yet will be under immense pressure to do so this year and reduce their operational expenses. Another popular way to save is to utilize cloud-based employee scheduling software and enjoy all the benefits of data-based HR without having to invest a large sum to purchase servers and other hardware.
Socially responsible hiring
Fair hiring practices are more important than ever, and HR managers have to be mindful of subtle biases that could be driving their decisions. Large companies will especially be under scrutiny this year, as they are expected to hire and promote women and minorities proportionally. Fair treatment goes beyond the moment of hiring, as those workers should have the same wages and same benefits as the rest of the workforce. Sensitivity to mobbing or sexual harassment is also at an all-time high, and HR managers should be working to prevent such occurrences rather than merely react after the fact.