Human resources is a constantly evolving field. On one hand, new technologies will dramatically affect how employees get hired or dismissed, the efficiency of payroll and other components of HR. On the other, regular changes of regulations mean businesses and HR professionals must remain fully aware of what's happening to labor laws and guidelines. The year 2015 brought some major advances, often coming from issues as widely variable as predictive analytics and the Affordable Care Act. With 2016 fully under way, more advances in technology mean human resource planning should benefit while keeping apace with the times.
2015: The ACA and overtime dominates
If there is one issue that was and will remain a challenge to HR experts and officials, it's the Affordable Care Act. With the full law not taking effect until 2020, there are still some hurdles for employers to consider. In 2015, some of the top stories by HR Benefits Alert talked about the ACA to some degree. For one example, the IRS announced guidelines that would identify who qualifies as a full-time employee and therefore qualify for health insurance provided by the employer. The 30-hour threshold is different from the standard 40 hours used by most companies, which presents potential hazards.
An equally important change was new rules regarding the Fair Labor Standards Act, particularly concerning overtime. In early July, the Department of Labor announced the overtime exemption threshold would go up from $25,660 to $50,400 in annual salary, starting in 2015. Employees receiving a salary below the threshold must be allowed overtime, with some exceptions to specific tasks such as administrative duties.
2016: More agile, personal HR
While the regulations above will cause a stir in 2016, technologies will also play an important role. For example, the HR Trend Institute noted Agile HR practices, which include cutting down on meetings, keeping teams small and using collaboration as the focal point of all functions, will be an important part of changes in 2016 as more companies embrace them.
Another major development will be artificial intelligence. While predictive analytics enabled some understanding of a potential recruit and whether they will last at a company, AI platforms such as IBM's Watson are now creating opportunities to assess people before you even meet them.
On a less technological level, a big trend is taking better care of the employee by using a more personal approach to his or her productivity. For example, there is a greater emphasis on individualization, which intends to treat workers more like clients. In addition, there's a major push away from work-from-home practices in order to make employees more personable and build a stronger work culture.