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The cost cutting and staff reductions may not be completely over, but as the economy begins its recovery, HR will be dealing with new challenges in 2010.

Still, the flush workplace of 2006 isn’t likely to rush back into vogue. In fact, the historic recession has made a lasting impression on many organizations, which could hang onto the lessons they learned while surviving lean times.

On Feb. 4, map your HR plan for 2010 during this strategic seminar Your 2010 HR Action Plan: Practical Steps to Avoid the Top 10 Employment Law Threats

Here are 10 trends to expect in the coming year, plus tips and tools to help you respond to each:

1. Refocus on retention. As the economy improves, turnover will rise as unhappy workers begin to feel confident enough to jump ship. Sixty percent of employees in a Manpower survey said they intend to leave. One in four is starting to look. Now’s the time to crank up the retention machine.

Where to start? Survey employees to learn their wants and needs, before you discover them in exit interviews. Remind them of the value of their benefits plan. Invest in professional development. Recognize excellence. Offer flexible schedules.

2. Layoffs spark needed FLSA-exemption review. As employers shed workers by the millions in recent years, employees were left to juggle their own tasks as well as those of departed co-workers. Result: For many, shifting job duties also shifted overtime exemption status under the Fair Labor Standards Act. That’s one reason such lawsuits have spiked in recent years.

3. Fierce debate over sick leave.
Mandatory sick-leave legislation gained new traction from the H1N1 flu pandemic and support from the Obama administration. At year’s end, legislators were debating two bills that would require businesses with 15 or more employees to provide sick leave, and at least a dozen states have proposed similar laws in recent years. Be prepared to alter your policies based on these “minimum-leave” bills.

Learn the steps you can take NOW to deal with major legislative and regulatory changes being implemented by the Obama Administration. Your 2010 HR Action Plan: Practical Steps to Avoid the Top 10 Employment Law Threats

4. Social networking disappears—just kidding. Employers that tried to ignore the world of Facebook, Twitter and blogs will need to embrace it—or at least understand it—in 2010. You face risks when employees misuse those tools (productivity and legal issues) and when you, personally, use such sites for recruiting.

5. Morale bottoms out. A recent CareerBuilder survey says nearly a quarter of HR execs rate employee morale as “low.” Plus, 40% of U.S. workers report difficulty staying motivated at work, and a quarter say they don’t feel any loyalty to their employers.

Work with supervisors to feed employees more recognition, better resources to do their jobs, career development, training, rewards for good work and a casual dress code. More money doesn’t hurt either.

6. Workplace threats on the rise. Three-quarters of senior executives are concerned about possible violent retaliation from vengeful former employees, says an annual Ernst & Young security survey. The Fort Hood shootings in November raised questions about employers’ responsibility for the safety of their workforces.

7. Crackdown on “contractors.” It hasn’t escaped the government’s notice that the economic crisis and high cost of health care have tempted organizations to misclassify more employees as independent contractors. Now, the IRS is cracking down, launching a wide-ranging audit program in February to find employers that misclassify workers. Driving the trend: a hunger for new tax revenue and support for organized labor.

Assess the top 10 employment law threats and how to avoid them.

8. Flex: friend or foe? Once on its way to the mainstream, flexible scheduling has become a contentious issue for managers. Organizations seem either to swear by it or dismiss it as staffs shrink. As the economy recovers and jobs begin to open, watch for a shift from counting hours spent in the office to measuring performance and outcomes.

9. Salary thaw. About half of the companies that froze salaries and hiring in the past year plan to unfreeze them in the next six months, according to a Watson Wyatt survey. Likewise, 35% are planning to reverse reductions to 401(k) match contributions. Make sure execs understand the retention implications of keeping those salary freezes in place.

10. Wellness becomes a ‘must.’ A new government study says 75% of employers’ health care costs are related to employee lifestyle choices. The message: Improve their choices and you’ll reduce your costs.

During Your 2010 HR Action Plan, employment law authority, attorney fabulously entertaining speaker Pat Stanton will address:
  • How to accommodate under the brand-new definition of “disability.”
  • Why the I-9 “bull’s eye” is on employers in 2010—and how they can avoid trouble.
  • Steps to prepare for increased union activity and new union-friendly rules.
  • How to take advantage of the new FMLA regulations while you can.
  • Which new workplace laws will pass in 2010—and which won’t.
  • And much more


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