Personal Finance

New issues changing workplace operations

The workplace is comprised of employees from different generations and each has its unique needs. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Emerging issues in global employment laws will affect the workplace in Kenya. Local employment laws are found in the Employment Act which may not be adequate.

In the event that the Act is inadequately in providing remedy on labour matters, it is advisable for organisations to formulate policies and regulations to govern grey areas.

One emerging issue is talent management. Organisations that do not embrace digitisation and innovations may become obsolete.

This emerging trend means that organisations have to hire the right talent and manage it well.

Organisations often find themselves in a quagmire when some positions become obsolete due to changes in technology. Some employees may also become irrelevant due to lack of new essential skills.

This happens when a firm embraces new technology or changes its strategy while employees adjust slowly.

The challenge for the organisation is how to handle the labour issue given the changes. It does not make sense to retain staff who have become redundant due to use of technology. However, the law prevents an employer from arbitrarily sacking them, especially if their contracts don’t include having skills in the new technology.

In this case, the employer should train affected staff and acquaint them with required new skills.

This may be expensive but it is also a sign of goodwill on the part of the employer. The employer should review the performance index and measure adaptability to technology as one of the indicators.

This process happens over a long period of time. If an employee consistently fails the performance test despite being given adequate opportunity to improve this could be a reason for further action by the employer.

In the event uptake of a new technology leads to redundancy, the process has to be done according to provisions of the Employment Act.

If an organisation flouts provisions of the law it exposes itself to litigation and other risks.

The rise of artificial intelligence has impacted the workplace leading to massive job losses. While no case study has been done in Kenya, the phenomenon will soon impact the local workplace.

Increased innovativeness by employees means that an organisation must have intellectual property policies to determine ownership rights between employers and employees.

Workplace diversity is an emerging trend too. How many organisations have a policy to guide management and staff on issues of diversity?

Diversity doesn’t only come in the form of gender and religion, age and personality are also emerging issues.

The workplace is comprised of employees from different generations and each has its unique needs.

Mavericks are highly creative, visionary and innovative persons who find it difficult to adhere to rules. They need flexible working hours as opposed to employees who are sticklers for rules.

While these may be human resource issues, it is time to consider the prudence of having a generic employment contract for staff or contracts that take into account individual needs.