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Workplace violence, marijuana and workforce planning among top HR challenges for 2019

December 04, 2018

Workplace violence, marijuana use, cybersecurity and leave laws are among the most difficult challenges facing employers in 2019, according to a survey released today by XpertHR.

The survey found 45% of human resource professionals 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.”

Workforce planning is another issue keeping employers up at night, with 64% of respondents reporting difficulty in finding high quality applicants. Ensuring employees and supervisors have the necessary skill sets is a challenge for 52%; creating a succession plan poses a challenge to 50% of respondents; and increasing employee engagement, morale and satisfaction is a challenge for 49%.

The research also found 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. Medical marijuana is legal in approximately 30 states and recreational marijuana use is now legal in more than 10 states but remains classified as a Schedule I controlled substance and illegal under federal law.

Employee privacy and protecting confidential data in the workplace are also critical issues for in 2019, with HR professionals citing the following:

  • 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%
  • Protecting employee information from data breach: 31%

Additionally, 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. Forty-three percent 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.

The survey of 800 human resource professionals was conducted in October 2018.


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