January 26, 2021
Most HR practitioners happily slammed the door shut on 2020. What a year! So, what do your human resources New Year’s resolutions look like for 2021? If you haven’t thought of any yet, we have some suggestions.
First, as COVID health information requests and pandemic behaviour judging exploded, privacy shyly, and slyly, wiggled into center stage last year. Cyber security issues are also front and center, especially with more people working from home. What does that mean for you in 2021? Well, if you have not done a recent privacy audit, you haven’t updated policies and you don’t have procedures in place to protect personal (and business confidential information), that should be resolution #1.
A related hot topic is remote work…work from home, work from away, work from anywhere. Employers will be pressured to continue remote arrangements, especially if they were successful during COVID shut-downs. The flexibility in location will likely soon give rise to demands for flexibility in timing. If the work is getting done, for some roles, will it matter whether employees work a traditional schedule or start late and work well into the night? What will flexible work look like for your organization? And what about the company’s stance regarding COVID vaccinations? Have you set and communicated expectations clearly?
But 2020 was not just the year of COVID. We also had an unrelated, unprecedented focus on diversity and inclusion, with the #blacklivesmatter movement that raised far more awareness than the board representation and reporting legislation in various jurisdictions ever did. What is your organization’s diversity and inclusion (or inclusion and diversity) strategy? Are you collecting metrics? Resolution #3!
If you have employees in Alberta, you probably need a resolution to revisit policies and procedures and make sure you are compliant given the non-stop legislative changes, including employment standards, labour relations, occupational health and safety and worker’s compensation.
Although Canada has always been a long distance from the “termination-at-will” experienced by some of the states to our south, 2020 saw another tip of the scales toward employees at termination with bonus eligibility in the notice period and termination clause interpretation. We predict some litigation surrounding employment agreements in 2021 and beyond, so a revisit of standard agreements and templates would be a smart resolution.
As we dust ourselves off and straighten our shoulders following 2020, human resources remains in the spotlight. We have had, and will have, challenges from legislative change, case law interpretation, economic realities and attacks on our health and wellness. The team at Inhaus Legal LLP looks forward to standing by you in 2021 and beyond.