Two years ago, the Society for Human Resources Management put together a list of potential legal issues for employers, and many of these issues are still being debated today.
A survey of these issues turns up the thorny subject of transgender rights, which made its way through the federal government’s Department of Justice and various national circuit courts over the last year with some surprising results. Other issues include the use of wearable devices in the workplace, social media policies, paid sick time, and remote work setups.
On the matter of wearables at work, which SHRM suggests could be a problem from a privacy and productivity perspective, some of those who have their finger on the pulse of the HR world take issue with the idea that wearables are mostly a problem.
“I don't think it's an issue at all,” Alexa Baggio told HR Daily Wire April 13. “If an employee is unengaged and disinterested, they are going to find a way to distract themselves – no matter what they are using.”
Baggio is the co-creator of the Perks Convention, an annual event where people come together to learn about what makes a workplace tick. Regardless of what they’re wearing, she said, workers can always give 100 percent -- or a lot less. In fact, she suggested, wearable devices can be assistive technology for workers.
“Wearables can be a cool engagement tool for people,” Baggio said, referencing wellness campaigns and other positive uses of wearable technologies. “It could be used for people's benefit.”
Baggio also addressed the challenges of flexible and remote work environments – which SHRM has been addressing in a series of articles.
“If you are hourly based (as a firm) and you're trying to create a flexible schedule, you need some sort of accountability technology,” she said, adding that it’s also important to hire well.
In the end, Baggio said, she feels workers perform best when they have control over their work processes.
“I am a firm believer in trust and autonomy,” she said, noting that employers tend to get more out of people when they let middle managers be creative with hiring strategies and find people they can trust.
“People get scared of (remote work setups) when organizations get really big,” Baggio said.
While working on Perks, Baggio has seen a lot of discussion about what motivates workers. She said Perks has an upcoming convention May 9 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston.
“It is the best conference to discuss unique employee services and amenities for your office,” she said.