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Future Proof: July Insights on HR and Workplace News

Welcome to Future Proof—your monthly guide to what’s happening in the world of HR.

With record-high temperatures over the past month, people across the globe were forced to find ways to adapt to changing conditions.

United States President Joe Biden called for improved worker protection, issuing the U.S.’s first-ever federal heat hazard alert. This mandated heat-related protections to workers under federal law.

Union leaders representing United Parcel Service (UPS) drivers threatened to strike over heat mitigation, among other issues. UPS and union leaders announced a tentative deal to equip delivery trucks with heat shields, air conditioning, and other equipment to protect drivers from excessive heat.

While lawmakers and labor leaders have had their hands full addressing unprecedented heat hazards, business leaders have been busy adapting to the rapidly shifting expectations of global talent.

  • Last month, there were multiple reports about the numerous layoffs in tech. While layoffs seem to be slowing down, CHROs are now focused on re-evaluating their approach to managing their workforces. See more in our “Top Stories” section.
  • Meta’s former Director of Remote Work says her attitude toward hybrid work—which she calls “an illusion of choice”—has cooled. See more in our “Remote and Hybrid Work” section.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that businesses must honor employee requests for accommodations due to religious beliefs. See more in our Regulatory Updates section.

Top Stories for July 2023

Layoff rates are slowing for tech companies compared to earlier in 2023. Although 62% of CHROs said in a recent survey that they reduced their headcount in the past 12 months, only 20% “expect to have layoffs in the remainder of 2023.” Instead, tech CHROs say their top area of focus is addressing management effectiveness issues.

Business leaders are revamping their culture, their values, and their approach to managing a workforce to meet the expectations of the new generation of talent. In particular, Gen Z wants to work for transparent, flexible organizations committed to the social good and offering strong mentorship, development, and career-path opportunities.

More Top Stories for July 2023

Why DEI Matters

It’s not just true for the tech industry—according to the National Science Foundation's Science and Engineering Indicators and the American Association of University Women (AAUW), women are still underrepresented in most STEM fields. On the positive side, women workers are far better represented in careers related to the biological sciences and chemistry than other STEM fields.

DEI efforts go a long way in improving your organization’s inclusivity—but they also make employees more engaged, improve retention, and even impact your bottom line. According to Franklin Reed, Executive Director of Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity at TEKsystems, setting corporate DEI initiatives up for success requires buy-in from leadership, as well as a strong emphasis on addressing the effects of systems that reinforce “lack of diversity, the lack of acute inclusion or inequities” within an organization. 

More Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Stories for July 2023

Businesses Warm Up to Parental Leave

EAPs first started in the U.S. to help employees battle alcoholism. Since then, the EAP industry has evolved. Now, they can help employees deal with a variety of issues that impact their well-being and personal lives, improving their productivity—and making them a win-win for employers and talent.

More Compensation, Benefits, and Wellness Stories for July 2023

Remote, Hybrid, or In-Person? The Debate Gets More Heated

Despite all evidence that companies that hire remotely come out ahead, many leaders are still pushing for at least a partial return to the pre-pandemic norm of in-office work. Meta’s former Director of Remote Work, Annie Dean, says that hybrid work policies are simply “an illusion of choice” and mandatory office attendance policies hurt employers, who may lose talent over inflexible work policies, and employees. 

That said, some companies are beginning to catch on. Rather than mandate office attendance, some companies like Yelp are closing offices due to underutilization.

More Remote and Hybrid Work Stories for July 2023

SCOTUS Sides with Employee in New Ruling

Employers take note—the U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously ruled in the case Groff v. Dejoy that employers should grant work accommodations for religious reasons unless they impose a burden that would substantially impact business operations. 

The White House Office of Management and Budget confirmed this month that the administration would review the U.S. Department of Labor’s proposed changes to the overtime rule under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This could mean an expansion of who’s eligible for overtime pay.

More Regulatory Updates Stories for July 2023

AI Advances at a Blistering Pace

Artificial intelligence (AI) has a lot of potential—but it was still made by humans. The biases of the creators often imprint into the decision-making process of AI software, making an extremely problematic pitfall for certain applications of the technology.

More Tech Stories for July 2023

Sunny Spots—Good News to Brighten Your Day

Circular cities are cities whose material loops are closed, minimizing waste and pollution—and Amsterdam is quickly becoming the first city to be truly “circular.” United Repair Centre, a clothing repair shop run entirely by refugees, is one of the latest examples of how businesses are transforming how we treat waste.

More “Good News” Stories for July 2023

Stay on Top of the Latest News in HR and Global Hiring

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Check out last month’s edition of Future Proof for more news and insight on what’s happening in the HR world.

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