The 2019 edition of the Lagos Business School HR Forum held on Tuesday, November 26, 2019 at the Honeywell Auditorium of the School. Themed “Emerging Risks for HR practitioners: New Developments in Law and Practice”, the event was an opportunity for Human Resource professionals, across all levels, to discuss new trends in the HR industry, explore changes in its laws and practice, and recommend innovative ways of executing their functions.
With President, Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPM) and HR Director, Flour Mills of Nigeria, Wale Adediran as keynote speaker, attendees at the Forum also got to learn from other in-house experts. Some of these include Lagos Business School faculty members, Professor Olawale Ajai, Dr Bongo Adi, and Pan-Atlantic University’s Dr Silk Ogbu.
Here are four of the key lessons we picked up from the Forum:
- In the past, roles were advertised requesting applicants to meet conditions such as age, gender, and ridiculous years of experience. It was normal to see job adverts with phrases like “applicants must not be older than 27 years old”, “Applicants must not be pregnant”, “Only male applicants required”, etc. However, with the latest developments in HR, rejecting applicants for attributes that are unrelated to the job performance is considered discriminatory and as such, not acceptable.
- Indefinitely suspending employees has now become a risk for HR practitioners. According to new developments in the practice of HR, suspension, be it administrative or punitive must not be longer than reasonable for the intended purpose; else, it amounts to prolonged suspension and can attract damages in addition to all other employment entitlements.
- HR practitioners should be aware of social risks that lie in individuals with whom their organisation has strategic relationships. With this awareness then comes the opportunity to position themselves and their organisation to manage these social risks. In achieving this, HR professionals need to identify key stakeholders, analyse them, identify emerging issues, manage stakeholder expectations and most importantly, keep channels of communication open and active.
- HR practitioners run a high risk of breaching the new Federal Competition and Consumer Protection (FCCPC) Act as a result of indiscriminate and unjustifiable employment bonds and covenant in restraint. Public policy allows for free mobility of labour as well as fair and healthy competition hence bonding and covenant in restraint must be justified and reasonable.
Summarily, HR practitioners are advised to acquaint themselves with the legal aspects of the practice by taking practitioner-oriented training.