Here are my top 5 issues for HR professionals that will impact your job for the rest of 2016.

  1. The election. I’ve been telling you for years that HR sits at the intersection of work, power, politics and money. This election is an HR election. Watch accordingly.
  2. HDHPs. High-deductible health plans are all the rage. Too bad most Americans can’t manage their money or health. If you’re not up-to-speed on what’s happening in healthcare, you might be too late to make a difference and impact your company’s strategy.
  3. Student loan debt. If you don’t think your entire workforce isn’t affected by student loan debt, you don’t know the American household. Parents and grandparents are postponing retirement because they paid for their children’s education through loans and second mortgages. Gen Xers are disengaged and still paying off unsubsidized Stafford Loans from the mid-1990s. Millennials with student loans from for-profit universities that offered a lackluster education are applying for your jobs in droves. And you’re trying to develop new talent from an emerging generation of workers who wants nothing to do with college. Good luck with your staffing plans.
  4. Immigration. The H-1B visa process is only one aspect of a system that is messy, tumultuous, bureaucratic and driven by mounds and mounds of paperwork. We can’t build a wall to protect us from the tourists who overstay their visas, and we can’t seem to find a balance between creating a culture of innovation and protecting American workers. The whole system feels like a crapshoot, doesn’t it?
  5. Diversity & Inclusion. We’re so used to thinking in linear ways. White men versus the world. Straight people versus gay people. What happens when race and gender are non-binary? What happens when we remove bias and everybody is mediocre because our schools are failing us? What happens when I need to pee in North Carolina? We’re no longer talking about quotas, folks. We’re talking about identities.

Those are my top 5 issues for the rest of 2016. I also want to talk about gun control and the related issues of worker protection, systemic racism, and even domestic violence. But let’s save that discussion for another time.

HR has enough on its plate, today.