The role of in-house legal counsel in bridging the “us” generation gap – Employment and HR

United States: The role of in-house legal counsel in bridging the “us” generation gap

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A new generation of tech savvy, social justice focused and environmentally conscious employee advocates are creating challenges in recruitment, retention and employment. Unlike their predecessors, the “Us Generation” cohort of employees (which loosely encompasses Generation Y and Generation Z and even newer “alphas”) tends to view the job as experimental rather than a long-term commitment. . Managing employees with a transactional approach to work and requiring motivated employment creates significant risk to human capital. Corporate counsel can play a key role in managing and mitigating this risk, not only in response to growing trends in ESG disclosure and regulation, but also in the context of the need to design frameworks. long-term legal for the workplace.

The Generation-Focused Policy Framework

Good compliance practices begin with a forward-looking framework for employment policies. The pandemic has wiped out traditional office life and so the prediction that 37% of offices will remain empty As 2022 becomes reality, the technology supporting remote working and the policies that govern it are mission critical. Generation We sees technology as a tool of life, and not just a tool of work. The primacy of technology requires a second look at the policies that regulate it. Examples of leading-edge policies include those regarding AI infrastructure in the workplace (as applied, for example, to applicant tracking systems) and policies regarding anti-bias in technology. Social media and communications policies also require a generational review. These policies, necessary for brand protection and consistent communication, may require modernization in light of the platforms that the generation we inhabit. One of the (many) tasks of the lawyer is to build this framework of compliance. This can mean more than an annual review of human resources policies, which is quite difficult in this hectic environment. But this policy review should include a second review of all employment policies to ensure that they are generational, consistent with technological change, and meet the demands of the new workforce.

Who participates and how

The Zoom Room may have been new at the start of the pandemic, but it’s commonplace now. In-person teams have been moved by fully remote or hybrid collaboration and a host of legal issues created by the virtual world. Some employment policies may not take into account the inclusion of the virtual world or rules of engagement. Microaggressions could be magnified in the virtual environment, as employees who feel excluded may not have the typical platforms to publicize those who feel, resulting in the public dissemination of labor disputes or abandonment of employment. It’s hard to pick up social signals from a square inch web box. It can even be more difficult to identify when a person feels marginalized due to their gender, race or other under-represented status. The legal service should play a role in defending people on the fringes. This means allowing managers to close the stands that take hold of virtual speaking. It also means taking note of those who do not virtually raise their hands and ensuring that all collaborators are heard. The rules of engagement regarding the use of video (all on? All off?) Generation We demands inclusion in their work and personal lives; they do not forgive employers who lack sensitivity to these issues and are quick to voice their opposing views.

Learn, not train

Mandatory training may not speak to socially aware employees who reject stereotypical gender roles and labels and embrace racial justice. Employers cannot legally waive training required by law, but they can modernize it. Structured meetings with a basic educational objective are meaningful because they impart information and stimulate behavior. Lawyers should consider helping their HR partners update traditional training to reflect learning from unconscious bias. Likewise, new topics such as mindfulness, well-being, mental health issues and the impact of the workplace on people could also be included in the learning tools. Are basic company messages incorporated into training or is it a standard program not relevant to the company? Training is an important part of attorneys’ compliance obligations, but integrating the core business mission into this programming in a personalized manner is an effective learning tool. Corporate counsel play a key role in driving change in these learning systems and these changes could positively mitigate human capital and business risk.

Performance with purpose

The role of the corporate legal advisor is becoming less transactional (getting the deal done) and more transformational (recruiting and retaining a workforce and implementing the incessant legal developments that have changed the way we work). Performance in this context can be more than a return of value to shareholders or the achievement of the philanthropic goal of a nonprofit organization. Rather, performance may encompass the achievement of a group goal. The Great Resignation informs us anecdotally that Génération Nous is in search of meaning and personal fulfillment, and not always money (although it is keenly interested in fair compensation). Goal-driven organizations can lead to a sense of community. Because community is important to this generation, identifying and amplifying the company’s mission becomes even more important. Recently released Goldman Sachs asset management report concludes that a growing percentage of young workers are already planning to retire earlier than their predecessors. If this movement is real, retaining the next generation of workers becomes even more important.

Generation We drives employee stakeholder primacy and underpins the addition of the “E” to ESG. This generation fearlessly exercises their voice in the workplace and quickly abandons their jobs when a company cannot speak for itself or stray from a cohesive mission. Lawyers can play a key role in bridging the intergenerational divide. This role and its impact begins with building the compliance framework in a way that accommodates the ever-increasing expectations of the next generation of workforce.

Originally posted by Corporate Counsel

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.

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