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Workplace violence, marijuana use, cybersecurity and paid-leave laws are among the most difficult challenges facing employers in 2019
An XpertHR survey of more than 800 HR professionals found that 45% of respondents viewed preparing for and responding to an active shooter or workplace violence incident as very or extremely challenging. A noted concern was creating a “culture of safety in the workplace.” This can include preventing actual acts of violence such as a shooting, as well as threats of violence, such as stalking, which may arise in connection with domestic violence.
“The best way to address a threat of workplace violence is to actively prepare employees and supervisors,” said Beth Zoller, JD, legal editor, XpertHR. “Put policies in place for visitor safety, workplace violence prevention, domestic violence and ban weapons from the workplace, to the extent permissible by state law.”
Another challenging issue employers face is dealing with increasing marijuana use. Medical marijuana is legal in about 30 states and recreational marijuana use is now legal in more than 10 states, as well as Washington, D.C. Yet, marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I controlled substance and illegal under federal law.
The survey confirmed employer frustrations in addressing marijuana use among workers and attempting to maintain a safe and drug-free workplace. 41% of respondents find managing the conflict of federal and state marijuana laws a challenge and 34% are challenged by maintaining a drug-free workplace in light of changing laws.
Other critical areas respondents say they are facing for 2019 are:
- Protecting employee privacy and confidential data are also critical issues for 2019. Respondents are challenged by preventing cyber breaches and data security (51%), managing mobile devices/wearable technology and the internet of things (41%), managing the use of technology and social media while at work (39%) and protecting employee information from data breaches (31%).
- Dealing with expanding federal, state and local paid-leave laws. Employer frustrations are evidenced in XpertHR’s survey, which found that 47% of respondents were challenged by tracking and complying with rapidly changing leave laws across states while 46% were challenged by tracking and complying with local leave laws. 43% have difficulty handling the administrative burden of managing leaves and 41% viewed determining what federal, state and local leave law requirements apply to specific employee situations as challenging. Paid sick leave and paid family leave are particularly perplexing in their application and administration.
- Attracting and retaining a quality workforce. Among the challenges -- 64%, finding high- quality applicants; 52%, ensuring employees and supervisors have the necessary skill sets; 50%, creating a succession plan; and 49%, increasing employee engagement, morale and satisfaction.