4 Important Issues Missing from the Top 2018 HR Trends

Last week, I wrote about the Top 5 HR Trends for 2018. If you haven’t already, please check them out.

However, there are some important issues in our world-place that are impacting our workplace that were missing from that list. And I couldn’t get too much further into the year without speaking on them.

Here’s what’s missing from the Top 2018 HR Trends (once again, in no particular order):

  • Stopping Cultural Insensitivity. We witnessed epic fails by Pepsi and Dove soap and Papa John’s Pizza and several other brands at dog-whistle diversity attempts last year resulting in public embarrassment, online annihilation and loss of sales. In each case, Executives carefully chose imagery and words without regard for negative cultural references and flat-out appropriation. The same thing happens on smaller scale in our organizations in our conversations and communications. These are called micro-aggressions. HR must get educated about this and actively work toward addressing this in our workplaces, especially in our branding and engagement communications. Talk about this in your trainings on harassment and add this topic to your conversations about inclusion. If you want to have diversity in your organization and you want the diverse people to stay and feel respected and valued, being culturally sensitive is a must for your as an employer and in all the services your organization provides.
  • Addressing Gender Pay Inequity. 2017 ended with a bang following the rebirth of the #MeToo movement and 2018 has kicked off with a vengeance with the #TimesUp movement. However, both of these movements are focused on women not facing gender or sexual harassment in the workplace. I am excited by this and support it fully. It doesn’t address the fact that, harassed or not, White women are still only making $0.78 for every $1 paid to a man and Women of Color make even less. There’s just as large a pay gap for Men of Color as well. We cannot lose sight of this fight in our efforts to keep up with all the good anti-harassment work that’s going on. We have to do both. Equal pay for equal work for all. Period. HR must actively look at our compensation structures and pay ranges for similarly situated positions to make sure there are no unwarranted, inexplicable gaps. When we find them, we must do what is necessary to close the gap.
  • Support for Social Activism and Support. Employees and customers these days want to know what organizations and leaders stand for and support — so they can decide if they want to stand beside you. If you aren’t actively supporting anything, your employees and customers are watching and judging harshly. There were many horrific events that happened in our world in 2017 that should make you want to get involved. Many areas are still recovering following hurricanes, fires and terrorist attacks. Find a way to help. Whether you use that for a PR opportunity is up to you — but help with sincerity.
  • Denouncing White Supremacy. I get that we don’t know what we don’t know about people’s beliefs and ideologies. But once a person or organization shows you who they are, believe them. And if they show you that they are a supremacist, stop doing business with them. Be direct and specific when you end the business relationship so they know the reason is because of their supremacist views. Go public if you have to. But don’t keep giving your time and money to people and organizations who don’t value diversity, inclusion, sensitivity and fairness (unless you don’t value it either).

These issues should be trending and front of mind in our organizations and HR departments at such a time as this.

But they’re not.

Because the work associated with these issues is hard, heavy, thankless and uncomfortable. Most organizations aren’t ready for this work. Most HR people aren’t ready for this work.

This is not right … but it’s OK. Most of the world isn’t ready for this work, either.

My advice to HR in the meanwhile? Study. Get ready. Have a plan for when the reckoning comes.

Because it’s coming — and it won’t be much longer.

Top 5 HR Trends for 2018

2018 is upon us and it is time for predictions of what this new year will bring.

Here’s my Top 5 Trends in HR for 2018 (in no particular order) …

  1.  Artificial Intelligence (AI) … For years, HR has been behind the curve in the world of AI and the associated predictive analytics that come with it. AI is going to show up and show out in HR for 2018.  HR tech vendors are finally hip to the AI game — and they are fiercely working to get us caught up and leading the way. Learn more about it and start making plans for AI usage in your organization to make your HR department even stronger.
  2. Sexual Harassment Reckoning … It is open season in these streets for men harassing women in the workplace. HR has got to be prepared to train their employees on what to do when harassment occurs and HR has got to be ready to address the increase of complaints that are surely coming. HR also has to be on the lookout for backlash by nervous, stupid male managers who think excluding women is easier or better than controlling men’s mouths and treating women as humans. HR has to address all these issues swiftly and surely.
  3. Brand Congruence and Integrity … Along with companies and people being called out for harassment in the workplace, companies and their leaders are also being publicly dragged for hypocrisy.  With social media continuing to rise and blur the lines between professional and personal, there is an expectation the companies will pay and treat employees fairly. There is also an expectation that leaders will ensure this happens in their organization and that they will conduct their personal lives in an ethical manner. When a brand is found to lack congruence and/or integrity in these areas, and the public gets wind of it, social media will pounce. The results can be devastating to your employer brand. HR must lookout for issues with the employer brand congruence and integrity. HR has to make recommendations on how to address problems before they go viral — and HR must know how to settle down and resolve the issues when they arise.
  4. Work Flex … Mobile technology makes people more accessible to work during non-traditional hours. Employers have used this for a long time to increase company productivity and profitability by getting more work out employees at odd hours. Employees are now demanding to work non-traditional hours in a way best suits them and the needs of their personal life. HR has to be prepared to address this and to lead organizations in finding the balance necessary for everyone to have superior quality of life and work.
  5. Total Wellness … The state of healthcare is a hot mess of instability. Costs keep going up, care keeps going down — but people keep getting sicker and for longer periods. There’s not much employers can do to change this. HR has to find new ways to provide comprehensive benefits for employees. HR has to redefine what “comprehensive benefits” means. Help employees learn how to manage, save and invest their money. Help employees eat healthier and get more exercise. Help them rest and relax. Help them pursue their dreams beyond the job. Just caring for physical health isn’t enough anymore. At total wellness approach is what is going to separate the best employers from the rest of the pack.


HR is uniquely positioned to lead in this season because the main issues plaguing the people of our businesses are the issues we’re trained and equipped to resolve. We just have to step up and be ready to lead.

Get ready, be ready and stay ready, HR.

Our time is now.

The Best of the Buzz 2017

2017 was a good year for The Buzz on HR, both online and off. The best part was finding my voice again as a writer and speaker. And feeling supported and encouraged by my readers to express myself fully and freely.

As someone who writes about management, leadership and human resources as my primary focus, it is hard to know sometimes how accepting people when you start pushing the boundaries and speaking up or out about controversial topics. There’s a fear that your audience won’t make the shift with you — and that you won’t find another one.  That fear kept me inconsistent with my writing for a few years.

In one of my earliest posts of the year, I declared 2017 The Year of the Savage. I committed myself to being bold and being honest. I’m proud of that.

2017 taught me that my audience will grow with me and that a new audience will find me when I am brave enough to be fully myself. Because truth always resonates and real always recognizes real.

So I’m excited as this new year begins — and I declare 2018 will be Savage AF as I push myself to be even more bold and honest and to stretch in new directions.

Before I get started, I want to take a quick look back at The Best of The Buzz on HR in 2017.

#5 – Addressing Gender Bias Complaints

Before the #MeToo movement reignited and took the nation by storm, this post gave practical advice on how address complaints in the workplace

#4 – Prioritizing Your Priorities

When your busy and everything needs to get done, use these methods to decide what to do first.


#3 – Your Employees Are In Pain

Following the events in Charlottesville, this post provided advice on how employers can acknowledge and heal the hurts caused by racial tensions and explosions.


#2 – Dear Pepsi, Your Apology Sucks

Following backlash from their new Kendall Jenner ad, Pepsi issued a weak apology. This post breaks down why it was so horrible — and how organizations can do better.

#1 – The #BlackBlogsMatter Challenge

February 2017 contained 28 posts addressing some of the most controversial topics in racism, diversity and inclusion. I couldn’t choose just one because they were all important, meaningful and widely read.


5 Management Lessons from Die Hard

“Die Hard?? That’s not a Christmas movie,” you say. 

The devil is a lie!

Not only is Die Hard a Christmas movie, it’s one of the best everrrrr.

Set at an office Christmas party on Christmas Eve with Christmas carols all up and thru both the movie’s score and soundtrack, Die Hard is the story of NYPD officer John McClane, who is separated and living apart from his wife and children. He flies to LA to see them for the first time in 6-months for Christmas. A limo with a first-time driver named Argyle picks him up at the airport and brings him directly to his estranged wife’s office, where he learns she’s now working under her maiden name. They start to argue about this while he’s freshening up and changing clothes for the party. She gets called away and he’s left to finish getting washed and dressed alone.

During his flight, another passenger told him the best way to ground yourself and relax after a long flight is to remove your shoes and socks, and make fists with your feet in the floor. Sounds weird — but John tries it and it works!

Unfortunately, at that same moment, a group of terrorists take over the office building. John has to run and hide while still barefoot. He begins his one-man counterattack  to save his wife and her co-workers from the terrorists … with no shoes.

The terrorists are led by a badass dude named Hans Gruber.  And he’s absolutely brilliant. And while I know the movie is supposed to be about John’s quick-thinking and heroics, the real management lessons in the movie come from Hans.

  • Hans had a clear mission, vision, objectives and a plan with contingencies. He is there to get into the vault and take $680 in bearer bonds. Everything he does and doesn’t do  is to accomplish this goal.
  • Hans always kept his word. When he told people that he was going to shoot them, he did it. With no hesitation or apology. He left no room for anyone to question his intentions or directives.
  • Hans remained calm and focused. When the first member of the terrorist team was found dead at the hands of John McClane, the others panicked and asked Hans “what are we going to do??” His response? “We are going to tell his brother.” And then he went back to checking on the status of the cracking the vault codes. He was cool-headed and decisive at almost every turn.
  • Hans delegated assignments to those best equipped for the task — and held his team accountable. He had guys designated to monitor certain areas of the building. He had a guy responsible for getting into the vault. He had a guy responsible for explosives. He gave them clear instruction and allowed them to do their job without interference while he focused on the high level tasks.
  • He seized every curveball as an opportunity to further his mission. When the police showed up, he used their protocol to get the power grid turned off for the building, allowing his team to bypass  certain security codes for the vault. When he accidentally ran into John, he pretended to be a hostage to gain his trust and overtake him. When he figured out John McClane’s wife was among the hostages, he used her to lure him out in an effort to secure his getaway.

John McClane, on the other hand, showed himself to be impulsive, unsophisticated and lacking awareness. He was a bit of a jerk. He took some huge unnecessary risks while helping overcome the terrorists. And he was an obvious sexual harasser with some seriously archaic views on women … Sure, he ultimately saved the day and went onto have several successful sequel Die Hard movies — but he’s really not the guy whose leadership example you want to try to emulate.

Minus the thieving, murdering and terrorizing, Hans Gruber was an excellent leader. His ultimate undoing came when he allowed himself to lose control and make sparring with John McClane personal. If he’d stayed focused on his mission, he may have gotten away in the end. We’ll never know because **spoiler alert** he gets shot by John and dies in the most epic fashion ever: falling in slow motion from a window in the Nakatomi Towers building.


RIP Hans Gruber (and the amazing actor, Alan Rickman, who portrayed him, who passed away earlier this year)

One final notable lesson from Die Hard: McClane’s friendship with Officer Powell.  Officer Powell was getting off work, heading home for Christmas with his family, when he got radio called about the disturbance at the Nakatomi building.  He quickly finds himself in a whirlwind of action he did not plan for. However, he feels compassion for John, even though he doesn’t know him, and he stays on the scene just to help him. He troubleshooted problems with John. He kept John calm and encouraged him. When John finally made it out the building, the two exchanged the most sweetest bromance glance and hug in the history of ever!!! And when one of the terrorists broke free and tried to kill John, it was Officer Powell that saved him .


We all need a Work BFF like Officer Powell.  Someone who keeps us calm and talks through problems to find solutions with us. Someone who has our back and advocates for us … If you don’t have someone like Officer Powell in your world of work, get one.

Officer Powell and Hans. Yippee ki yay.

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