The HR challenges in 2020 remain to be the adaptation towards expanding global trends. Many trends that may seem to be farfetched, whether it be the issue of Big Data, Diversity, and Employee Mental Health, may start to become an immediate effect on our lives. It may be considered that 2020 would be the year HR needs to rapidly adapt to and cope with the changes for organizations.
Big Data Literacy
In the wave of Digital Disruption, many organizations have adopted new advanced technologies and invested in People Analytics Software, including Digital Data Management. Inevitably, one of the HR challenges this year is acquiring the knowledge to keep up with Big Data or Big Data Literacy.
Other departments, whether it be finance or marketing, are familiar with acquiring Big Data to make business-related decisions. It is now the turn of HR to learn about Big Data to analyze and find indicators to make decisions and forecast human resources whether it be about Talent Acquisition, Workforce Planning, Training and Evaluating, and Workforce Attrition & Employee Retention.
Aside from acquiring knowledge to make decisions, being aware of Data Privacy is also important, especially data from candidates. Organizations should have standardized policies for data usage and data collection to protect data leakage to align with The Protection of the Rights of the Data Subject under the Personal Data Protection Act B.E. 2562.
The Rise of Diversity
Diversity may seem as a distant issue to some while it may seem more like a common topic to other countries that have high cultural and racial diversity such as the United States of America, France, or other European countries. Thailand has been facing diversity more than before in terms of gender, age, race, religion, education, culture, and political standpoints. At the same time, the awareness of diversity has been raised as a result of continuous campaigns from the media, iconic persons, activists, and NGOs. In the previous years, law enforcements on diversity and equality have become more evident, for instance, the enforcement of the Labor Protection Act (the 7th Amendment) B.E. 2562 or the Gender Equality Act B.E.2558 which resolves gender discrimination and protect gender identity.
From the awareness, many organizations, especially international ones, have policies where acceptance in diversity and equality are promoted. Despite the positive policy objectives, discriminatory practices still exist. Lights should be shed on issues as such, otherwise, legal prosecutions would be more evident as what many organizations are currently facing.
Most discriminatory practices come from Unconscious Bias rooted in personal experiences. Prejudice is one of the key embedded indicators in recruiting. It becomes a hidden cost as companies keep losing the opportunity in recruiting the right talent because of factors aside from skills. Examples include discrimination in the forms of age, gender and university.
For these reasons, HR face the challenges of creating a positive mindset to the people within the organization; informing the advantages of diversity, mitigating discriminatory procedures or employees, and determining diversity as one of the managers’ and organizations’ KPIs. All in all, when dealing with challenges, it should be handled with consideration and the person’s will instead of solely basing them on legal requirements.
Mental Health Effect
Stress from work is no longer a minor issue. The World Health Organization indicates the Burnout Syndrome to become a global mental illness since it may develop to be depression and affect the lives of workers. Research in 2018 reveals 1.5 million Thai people are under depression, having the working-age (ranged between 25-59 year-olds) contributing to 62% of the total affected population. From the high rate and increase in statistics, it would be no surprise if one of the affected workers were your employees.
The Burnout Syndrome and Depression are metaphorically like an iceberg. What is seen at the surface is small compared to the actual complexity of the problem. Companies should not let employees unaccompanied in dealing with problems, rather give a hand to avoid long-term issues; decrease in work effectiveness, the lack of ambition and creativity, increasing of absence and sick leaves, and a high turnover rate.
There are many direction companies should adapt to handle the mental health challenges of employees, such as giving information and understanding about Burnout Syndrome and Depression, mental health evaluation aside from annual health checkup, extension of employee benefits to cover mental health consulting, positive working environment campaigns, conducting stress-relieving activities or creating a relaxing office space.
In order to solve the problem from the root cause, there should be a channel for employees to have conversations with one another to relieve stress and discuss problems from work. Causes of stress are rooted in work structures, job tasks, and systems; for instance, work-life imbalance, jobs with high pressure, mismatch of jobs from skills or personality, internal disputes, or unfair pay. If HR could appropriately give consulting and be the middleman to solve these issues, it would be handling the issue sustainably from the root cause.