2015: Hidden Bias, Unhappy Workers Among Top Issues for HR

Howard Ross identified as diversity training trendsetter

By Dana Wilkie Jan 20, 2015
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Miserable workers, hidden bias and gender disparity will be among the top issues that HR departments focus on in the new year, according to HR Magazine’s January/February issue. 

In an article titled “What’s in Store for HR in 2015?,” principal and founder of Bersin by Deloitte, Josh Bersin, shares nine predictions for how HR will redefine the workplace this year.

Because unhappy workers can blemish a company’s reputation, making it difficult to attract talented employees, employee engagement will be a top-of-mind issue for HR professionals in 2015, Bersin wrote. 

Hidden bias—the tendency to harbor unconscious negative or positive prejudices about job applicants and workers—is an emerging focus for HR departments, many of which are turning to training and consultants to educate managers about how this bias can affect hiring, promoting, mentoring and firing, Bersin said.

Howard Ross, founder and chief learning officer at Cook Ross Inc., is a trendsetter in diversity training. He encourages everyone to examine their assumptions. “Bias is as natural to human beings as breathing,” he says. “And that gives us a new way to look at working with people.” His audio interview with HR Magazine covers how to avoid the stumbling blocks to diversity.

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After leading Silicon Valley companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google and Apple revealed that most of their engineering and technical professionals are white men, corporate CEOs will be paying far closer attention to gender disparity in their workplaces, Bersin predicted. 

Annual employee engagement surveys will give way to continual canvassing of employee attitudes—call it “real-time polling”—so HR departments can respond more quickly and efficiently to worker dissatisfaction, Bersin said.   Finally, he said that understanding and articulating a company’s culture will become critical to hiring applicants and identifying leaders who reflect that culture.

Dana Wilkie is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

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