In our fast-paced world, ongoing social, economic and political developments are driving legislative changes that impact workforce management. As a result, global companies may be subject to new rules and regulations that address a wide range of issues, which have come around due to social changes in society to political movements to economic issues in some regions. Adjusting to these legal frameworks, however, may be easier said than done for companies with operations in multiple countries — yet failing to comply can have far-reaching consequences.

why this matters

In the past few years, there have been many workforce-related legislative changes at the international, national and local levels. Quite recent examples like the implementation of GDPR in the European Union to the court ruling in the USA against discrimination based on sexual orientation or laws around seeking candidates’ salary history, to the universal minimum wage bill in India, to the new legislation around outsourcing and temporary work in Brazil, have all have significantly impacted the workforce strategies of several companies, especially those which have operations in several markets.

It should be clear that each of these developments has a significant impact on companies with operations in the relevant regions. Moreover, it is highly likely that in the near future, a growing number of countries will issue new legislation regarding issues such as pay parity, workplace discrimination, data protection, worker classification, remote work and more. 

why HR needs to understand legislative changes

Failing to comply with regulations can be devastating to a company, resulting in not only significant financial consequences, but also reputational damage. To illustrate, think of the class action lawsuit against Uber alleging that drivers were misclassified as independent contractors. As another example, Google has recently been the target of multiple lawsuits. Two former employees sued the company, claiming they suffered discrimination for being conservative white men. Additionally, a class-action lawsuit alleging pay discrimination based on gender has been filed. This shows that even very big companies with tremendous resources can be vulnerable.

In order to remain in compliance, as well as maintain a good brand and employer reputation, it is critical for HR organizations to understand the legislative changes that apply to their companies. Only by doing so can they make the adjustments needed to realize their current and future strategies.

However, on top of the legislation (itself often being complex), HR organizations of global companies also need to take into account which jurisdictions govern their operations. For instance, does a company that is headquartered in the U.S. but that has remote workers based in the European Union have to comply with the GDPR, and what are the potential exposures? Or to what extent does a company headquartered in India that has operations in France have to offer employees flexible work arrangements? And how does a global company that uses thousands of independent contractors in a range of different countries ensure that it is in compliance with all of the applicable regulations? 

In addition, there is often a limited amount of time in which to prepare for the changes. Plus, simply adjusting policies isn’t always sufficient to change how things are done in a company. For this reason, HR may also need to establish additional trainings — such as anti-bias trainings — for managers and employees. 

how to acquire the necessary expertise

All of these factors together combined may be overwhelming for organizations, especially when they do not have the in-house knowledge to adapt quickly and effectively to the appropriate legal frameworks. That is where bringing in the right external support can be crucial. 

With more than 50 years of experience assisting companies around the globe in all areas of workforce management, Randstad possesses the expertise you need to advance successfully through all of these changes. We can help you understand the legal implications, advise you on how to adapt your workforce policies and, if necessary, support you in instituting organizational changes that support those policies. 

Ultimately, this is critical to not only remaining in compliance regardless of where your operations and workforce are located, but also to keeping your global workforce engaged, motivated and happy.