Our current issue of HR News Roundup features new EEOC guidance on harassment, ways to support employees during conflict, “accidental managers,” employee burnout, new executive orders on AI, and much more. Of course, being Halloween, we finish with a few treats from the lighter side.

Updating The Company Employee Handbook Should Move to the Top of Every Company’s Year-End To Do List
White and Williams LLP

As year-end approaches, companies, both large and small, are busy closing out 2023 and putting plans in place for 2024. A key priority that should not be neglected as you make preparations to close out an old year and start a new one is updating your employee handbook. An updated employee handbook can be an effective tool to prevent legal liability, set the policies that reflect the realities of your business and communicate expectations to your employees. However, an employee handbook that is out-of-date or out-of-touch can both expose your company to legal liability and garble any message of expectations that you try to convey to your employees. So, here are three reasons why every company should move updating the employee handbook to the top of their year-end to do list.

What’s in that new EEOC guidance on workplace harassment?
Robin Shea, Employment & Labor Insider

The proposed Guidance is intended to replace a number of harassment guidance documents that the EEOC issued in the late 1980s and in the 1990s. It provides all of the basics of harassment under the laws that the EEOC enforces today. Much of the Guidance covers how to prove harassment, how to determine when an environment becomes “hostile,” and the different ways in which an employer can be liable for harassment. Good to be familiar with, but not especially novel. However, the Guidance also addresses some “hotter” issues — for example, harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity, pregnancy or related conditions (especially since the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act took effect), and religion.

How to Support Employees During Times of Conflict
Sharlyn Lauby, HR Bartender

Our workplaces are diverse. We have individuals of all religions, including non-religious believers, in our workforce. And even if someone doesn’t speak about their beliefs, it doesn’t mean they don’t have them. It’s possible organizations have employees with family in a war zone or close to a war zone. Employees might be worried, distracted, and possibly angry about what’s going on.
Employees might be wondering if there’s something they can do to help. So, I wanted to share some resources that could be helpful. Please keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list.

Is ‘flextirement’ the new retirement?
Cloey Callahan. worklife

Instead of a full-blown retirement when you reach 62 years old and can collect social security benefits, flextirement allows an employee to move to a more part-time role and eventually shorten the number of hours worked over a certain time period until they officially retire. Instead of working a full 40-hour week, that person might switch to only half that, leaving them time to begin to enjoy retirement.
…Flextirement would allow employees the opportunity to semi-retire, working in some part-time capacity, likely on a consultant/mentor basis. This way, employees could continue contributing to the workforce on a manageable schedule while lessening the knowledge transfer gap to younger colleagues.

As more workers report burnout, fewer believe their employer cares about them
Carolyn Crist, HR Dive

More than half of U.S. workers say they’re experiencing burnout, and nearly the same number lack confidence that their employer cares about them and their well-being, according to an Oct. 18 report from Aflac.
Employee confidence in employer care has dropped significantly in recent years, from 59% in 2021 to 48% in 2023.

Related: 3 in 4 Gen Zers will resign if they don’t get feedback from managers

Accidental managers: why people who are great at their job can fail when they get promoted
Cary Cooper, The Conversation

Accidental managers are people that have moved up the corporate ladder with no formal training in management or leadership. To put it simply, they are not correctly trained or equipped to manage people. Among those workers who told the CMI’s researchers they had an ineffective manager, only one-third said they were motivated to do a good job and as many as half are considering leaving in the next 12 months.

Biden executive order on ‘trustworthy’ AI: What HR needs to know
Jill Barth, Human Resource Executive

There’s more to come as guidance rolls out. For instance, the order promises a report on the potential impact of AI on the workforce. This is a topic that has flooded headlines and occupied analysts and business leaders with a predictive numbers game. A summer 2023 report from McKinsey Global Institute, for example, estimates 12 million occupational shifts by 2030 due to the proliferation of AI-based solutions.
According to McKinsey, building a future-ready workforce will continue to be a priority for employers. Earlier this year, the Future of Privacy Forum working group released best practices for using AI in hiring and employment activity. The forum—along with software companies ADP, Indeed, LinkedIn and Workday—created recommendations for HR teams.
These include obligations to clearly define AI responsibilities, promote transparency in using AI in consequential activities such as terminations, avoid bias and discrimination and commit to informed human oversight. The full report can be found here.

HR News Roundup: Quick Takes


From the Lighter Side  …

Never mind haunted houses and spooky costumes …  when it comes to the workplace, most HR people have a unique view of what is truly frightening. For example, check out these Halloween Horrors in the Workplace or these 14 HR horror stories that will make you LOL!

Watch These Halloween Episodes of ‘The Office’ When You’re Looking for a Laugh – You can have an entire marathon of these “haunted” specials!

Halloween is really for the kids. We love the costume that this little girl selected for herself – she knew what she wanted to be! And is there anything cuter than these Lettuce babies?  (links to X/Twitter and Instagram)

There’s nothing quit like National Pumpkin Day at the zoo. (link to X/Twitter)

Check out the Most Popular Halloween Candy of 2023, including the top 3 candies in each state. Apparently, it is in our national character to like a good argument. That even affects our candy choices. In this video, The History Guy talks about the most controversial candies.


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