News Stories - Update: Ethics, Digital World, and HR Policies

In some fields of work, we are told to learn to dissociate politics from work because it is the right thing to do. It is an ethical obligation. In the field of HR there could not be such differentiation since politics - in the form of legislation - interfere heavily with how we have to manage people and people's sentiments, attitudes and behaviors. So, again, what is HR to do? Is there anything as black and white, and do businesses really have  options as which path to take?

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Does HR Truly Have Options?

In fact, it is very simple - or not that simple, as reality proves at times:
  1. To the issues of violence (domestic or others) we have to face workplace violence. Consequently, businesses have implemented Workplace Violence Policies and Business Continuity;
  2. To the issues of calamities and catastrophic happenings (Hurricanes and others, Tornadoes, ...) we have to address workers' safety and well being. Businesses have put in place EAP and Communication Programs, and Business Continuity;
  3. Facing advances in technologies, the proliferation of digital expressions, the expansion of the digital world, businesses have to implement Digital Use Policies (Internet use, Cell phone use, ..), and Telecommuting Policies (Work time and private time, OT ...);
  4. Between liberalization of personal expression that conflicts at times with business interests (workers' and customers' notions of free expressions at times conflict), businesses felt the need for a regular update on Dress Code Policies;
  5. Juggling the needs for safety, efficiency, and compliance amidst changes in legalization of controlled substances, businesses struggle with  Substance Use & Abuse Policies;
  6. Caught in unfolding parameters of changing moral standards (the notion of acceptable or tolerable behaviors apparently changes depending on who your audience is ), businesses felt the need for a Sexual  Harassment and Religious Practices Policies;
  7. In a changing society with expanding societal needs, HR has to stay competitive and, for example, update the PTO and Parental Leave Policies; 
  8. In the global flux of people and changes caused by wars, political dissensions, safety and economic issues, businesses have to comply with regulations affecting Global HR , such as recruitment/hiring Policy to name only one.
The above businesses/HR Policies are just to name a few, but they are the most prevalent ones in today's mutating world. So, can HR stand aloof and say that the world and national or global politics are not interfering with HR business? I seriously doubt. HR is involved to the core, whether we like it or not. I have to admit that exchanging views with people out of HR on the subject can lead to heated discussions. Why? For the very simple reason that your view, as a HR professional is going to be tainted by the whole HR business aspect of the question. My advice? Avoid it. You cannot win because you cannot happily or safely mix business and friendship. Questionable? Maybe to some, however so true most of the time.

Today's Path: Towards What Kind of HR ?

In any event, it also brings us to to the conclusion that HR has to be involved - in the form of SHRM advocacy and representation in DC - because of what is acceptable and tolerable directly continues more than ever to impact HR policies on the ground. (To those who are interested in the political follow-up that SHRM has made recently click here and here.) Hypothetical  questions are if we, as a Society, accept for example Sexual Harassment, then wouldn't HR to re-adjust its Sexual harassment Policy? If we, as a Society, have to re-make the principles of laws, wouldn't HR to re-adjust policies and practices that can be related to Due Process such as Complaint and Ethics-related Policies, and such as Dispute Resolution and Whistle-blower provisions to name the major ones? Those are just mere examples of hypothetical - not so hypothetical - questions. So, whatever path we choose as a Society is also going to affect our workplace and our work life in many more aspects than we anticipate if we have to be coherent. This is why HR advocacy is crucial because HR is not only to be advocates for businesses but also for people, because people are the frame of Human Resources. So, where do we stand? The previous question on my last post and raised among the HR community was: "Where was HR" when ethical issues came to the surface. Now, it seems that we have to wonder towards what kind of HR we are heading...

En Synthèse...

Société, Politique et RH : Un Trio Incontournable

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Qu'on se le dise: en RH il n'y a pas de choix, comme il n'y a pas de roses sans épines. Parfois, l'on se demande s'il n'y a que des "grey areas" et un échiquier qui prennent forme sous la culture d'entreprise. La vérité des vérités est que l'on est sujet aux lois, législations et choix politiques. Alors le choix, ce sont les gens - employés et employeurs -  qui le font sur une autre sphère qui va régimenter la politique RH des entreprises.

Voila pourquoi les professionnels RH sont appelés à se faire entendre, car en fait, ils façonnent la société de travail. Aux USA, l'association RH -SHRM - joue un rôle crucial à Washington. Face à une société nationale et globale qui évolue rapidement sous plusieurs facettes, et où  les individus ne jurent que de leurs "droits," les RH font la course contre la montre et la marche des évènements, des mentalités, et de la moralité qui s'ensuivent et ne se ressemblent pas!

Si mon dernier billet parlait du rôle des RH vis-a-vis de l’éthique,  celui-ci pose la question de savoir le trajectoire des RH de demain...


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