HR Year in Review
2019 was a big year for HR, particularly with respect to legislative changes. As the year comes to a close, we recap these changes, some interesting research findings and a few other areas we’ve observed over the year.
Employment Standards Act – Changes in Legislation. The ESA in BC (as well as other provinces) saw a great number of changes, both in May and September. The ESA BC has since updated their website and we find it to be a big improvement (re: lay-out and ease of finding information) over the previous version!
Canada Labour Code – Changes in Legislation. As was the case for the ESA, there were a significant number of updates to CLC legislation in September, which may only be the tip of the iceberg of what we’ll see in 2020. Stay tuned to our blog in the coming year for proposed legislative changes impacting termination, harassment & violence policy, pay equity, etc.
Cannabis Legalization Phase 2. On October 17th this year, cannabis edibles and topicals became legal for public consumption/use – exactly one year after smoking and vaping were legalized.
Last Year of the Medical Services Plan. Starting in January this year, employers started paying Employer Health Tax (EHT) premiums, pre-empting the elimination of MSP premiums for BC residents in 2020. While in 2019, employers who cover MSP for their staff had to pay both premiums, as of 2020, they will only be responsible for EHT. Of course, those who weren’t covering MSP will have to absorb new costs for EHT going forward.
Impact of the #MeToo Movement. Having started in October 2017, there have been, and continue to be, many cascading effects of the movement. One of the questions asked by Wright State University (WSU), who conducted a follow-up survey in early 2019, was whether that impact was positive. While awareness and willingness to bring matters forward have increased, they also found that 19% of men surveyed said they would be more reluctant to hire attractive women, 21% more reluctant to hire women for jobs with duties involving closeness with men (e.g. travel), and 27% more unwilling to have one-to-one meetings with female co-workers. Despite this unintended effect, there is no doubt that the movement has increased awareness. For example, the Canadian government has been working toward a national strategy to address/prevent violence against women, and while Bill C-65 started prior to October 2017, it’s highly possible that #MeToo moved its introduction forward. Despite any unintended effects, as reported in the WSU survey, we should not underestimate the impact of awareness and support for women to bring matters forward courageously and without fear of retaliation or inappropriate consequences.
Respect and Diversity. With so much more awareness amongst the general population – and leaders taking the culture of respect, diversity and inclusion seriously – we have seen more focus on respectful workplace practices and workplace awareness. Accordingly, we’ve seen an increasing focus on diversity. Even Pixar got into the game with a new short film that portrays workplace diversity and was developed based on the film-maker’s own personal experience in animation.
Impact of Sleep. While not directly HR-related, the impact of sleep (or lack thereof) in the workplace should not be overlooked. Accordingly, it’s been great to see the influx of research, articles and commentary on the subject in 2019 – with particular mention to Matthew Walker’s Ted Talk from earlier this year. While his book was published back in 2017, we also strongly recommend reading Why We Sleep.
All trends, changes and new initiatives that occurred and/or gained momentum this year will of course continue to have an impact in 2020 and beyond. For that reason, year in review practices are not only an opportunity to reflect, but can also be a meaningful way to consider how you’ll move forward in 2020. As you look back on what occurred on the HR landscape in 2019, in the workforce and your own organization, we invite you to reflect upon your own year where work (and life related to work) is concerned. While there are countless ways to do so, following are some questions to consider asking yourself, and/or sharing with your teams and employees.
- What was the most important lesson you learned this year?
- Looking back now, what advice would you have given yourself at the beginning of January 2019, if you could have?
- What was the best decision you made?
- What was your biggest mistake, and how would you go about it differently in the future?
- What got in the way of being successful (whatever success means to you)?
- Who or what had the biggest impact on your life or your organization this year?
- What was the best compliment you, your team or your organization received, and what impact did it have?
- What left you feeling energized? What drained you?
- What one word would best describe your year?
- What are you most thankful for this year?