10 Workplace Resolutions Employers Should Make for 2020

2020 loading with hand holding blank game board tiles
Jessica Webb-Ayer

Now that the New Year’s confetti has been cleared away and the new decade has begun, it’s time for employers to consider making resolutions to improve their workplaces.

Here are 10 resolutions you should consider making for 2020:

1. Review and Update Your Employee Handbook

Staying on top of your organization’s employee handbook is a staple at the top of an HR professional’s list of resolutions. Employee handbooks should be reviewed and updated at least on an annual basis, but you may want to consider reviewing them more often, especially in light of continuing legal developments that affect workplace policies.

Although it’s essential to have an employee handbook in place, that’s not enough. Employers must also continue to update them regularly and make sure employees are aware of them.

2.  Evaluate Leave Offerings

Leave benefits, both paid and unpaid, continue to expand at the state and local level with jurisdictions seeking to address gaps in coverage. The beginning of the year is a good time to address your organization’s leave offerings and how they align with current and pending laws.

The leave area presents countless issues for HR professionals to wrap their heads around! Depending on the circumstances, an employer may be required to comply with a variety of different leave laws, including:

  • Paid sick leave;
  • Paid family leave;
  • Military leave;
  • Bereavement leave;
  • Blood donor leave;
  • Domestic violence leave;
  • Emergency responder leave;
  • School activities leave; and
  • The new “leave for any reason” laws that made their debut in 2019.
3. Consider Offering Flexible Working Options

Flexible working has emerged as an essential workplace benefit in the last several years. According to a FlexJobs survey, 30 percent of survey participants reported leaving a job because it didn’t offer flexible work options. Additionally, research by Boston Consulting Group reveals that flexibility is an increasingly vital asset to retaining both men and women and helping employee engagement.

These findings highlight that it’s becoming more and more important for employers to evaluate the flexible working options they currently offer (and consider offering even more this decade).

There are many different ways employers can offer workplace flexibility, including:

  • Flexible schedules;
  • Reduced schedules;
  • Telecommuting;
  • Flexible working locations;
  • Compressed workweeks;
  • Shift flexibility; and
  • Job sharing.
4. Continue Efforts to Prevent Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment prevention should still be on employers’ minds in 2020. Recent evolving requirements and workplace demands have caused employers to focus on prevention strategies, but employers still need to be doing more to address the issue.

  • Take steps in 2020 to prevent sexual harassment in your organizations by:
  • Updating your sexual harassment policies;
  • Offering sexual harassment training;
  • Making the issue more of an organizational priority; and
  • Addressing and, if necessary, changing your workplace culture.
5. Start Preparing for Performance Appraisals Now

Even though you most likely just wrapped up last year’s performance reviews, now is the time to start thinking about the process for 2020. Take the time to review and make improvements to your performance review procedures and processes. Ensure that they are helping your organization meet its mission and goals, including promoting employee engagement and development.

6. Promote Diversity and Inclusion

Although US workplaces have made progress when it comes to diversity and inclusion, there is still much room for improvement. This means it’s important to continue to evaluate your organization’s diversity and inclusion initiatives in 2020.

Even though creating and fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace may require a commitment of time, energy and resources, it is well worth the benefits such a workplace offers. A diverse workplace benefits an employer in a number of ways, including:

  • Increasing employee productivity;
  • Reducing legal claims;
  • Enhancing the employer’s internal and public image; and
  • Increasing customer loyalty.
7. Address Workplace Health

As an employer, make sure you have established and continue to maintain a healthy workplace. Don’t forget that, under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, an employer has a duty to provide a place of employment that is free of recognized hazards to employee safety and health.

Some employee health issues that employers may want to prioritize in 2020 include:

  • Employee wellness programs;
  • Texting while driving;
  • Drug use and the opioid crisis;
  • Smoking and e-cigarette use;
  • Flu season and infectious disease prevention; and
  • Active shooter events.
8. Account for Minimum Wage Increases

Once again, 2020 ushered in many new compliance requirements for employers, and unsurprisingly, many of them involved minimum wage changes. Beginning January 1 (or December 31, 2019, in New York), the minimum wage rate increased in 21 states and in many localities across the US. For example, several cities across the country had minimum wage laws that took effect for the first time, and in California alone, nearly 20 localities saw an increase in the minimum wage.

Employers should ensure they have accounted for any new increases. 

9. Review Employee Classification

The beginning of a new year is a great time to review your employees’ changing job duties to make sure they are correctly classified. The classification of employees as exempt or nonexempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is one of the most complex and difficult issues in federal wage and hour law, and employers now have to comply with new overtime regulations.

10. Stay Up-To-Date With Compliance Developments

Finally, it’s vital to continue watching for new developments and compliance requirements in 2020, and to stay current with applicable federal, state and local developments. Remain mindful of how such developments may affect your workplace policies, procedures and processes and be prepared to take action.