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Our Guide to the Key HR Trends for 2018 | Wirehouse

Our Guide to the Key HR Trends for 2018 | Wirehouse

Date: 10th January 2018 | Categories: Employment law

The New Year always brings a sense of excitement and time to plan for the coming months ahead, so as we look into 2018 what are the hot topics and key trends in HR and Employment Law for the coming year?

Employment Law Trends 2018

HR Appraisals, Performance Reviews and Continuous Feedback

The discussions around annual appraisals being outdated have been hovering for a while now. A fast moving world, means fast moving business so based on that a year is a long time to wait. Whilst the idea of setting objectives at the beginning of the year and reviewing them at the end may not be working for many, direction and feedback is and remains important. We live in an immediate world, employees and business alike are looking for immediate feedback. This provides opportunities to review objectives and direction, change where necessary and importantly continue to improve.

Social Communication and Learning

The way we communicate and share information is changing, social media is here to stay and is far wider than telling the world what you had for breakfast on Facebook!

We will see more and more businesses using social communication tools to keep in contact with employees working remotely and at different times. We have already seen organisations making use of WhatsApp as a communication tool, along with other paid for social networking such as Slack.

Whilst blogs and vlogs are becoming an everyday tool for sharing and learning, internal use of social networking allows staff to share interesting information across teams, departments and the wider company. Internal social networks can provide two-way communication tools in a way that email never did, the ability to comment on information posted allows feedback to be shared and opens channels for discussion.

Alongside this, instant messaging tools allow office conversations to happen across locations. The immediate and informal conversational style allows those conversations that were once “over the desk” or “at the water cooler” to happen anywhere and everywhere.


The profile around mental health has been raised significantly over the past year of so, particularly with the input of the Duke and Duchess and Cambridge and Prince Harry. Increasingly we’re seeing open conversations about mental health and mental health being given as a reason for absence.

For business this creates new expectations, as individuals are looking for support when it comes to mental health and wellbeing. There are many opportunities for promoting health and wellbeing, these need not be expensive and are likely to have benefits outweighing costs.

Employee Assistance Programs can be a really cost effective benefit to provide to staff, providing access to telephone advice and counselling, and in some cases face to face counselling. Providing this type of support can reduce sickness absence, avoiding individuals getting to a point where time off work is required by taking the support early.

Supporting flexible working, enabling individuals to manage their work and home lives will reduce sickness absence, increase retention and attract a greater pool of candidates when it comes to recruitment. All whilst benefiting individual’s mental health and wellbeing.

Flexible Working and Remote Workforce

Flexible working legislation has been in place for some years now and was extended to all employees in 2016. No longer is flexible working viewed as something for “mum’s who need to pick up children”. Even the idea of work life balance has changed as increasingly work life balance is about balancing work and other commitments often overlapping time.

Technology has changed the way we work, working from home or indeed anywhere has become possible for many people. Equally work communication often does not stop when we leave the office with email and other messaging software allowing us to be available 24/7.

As a result, we’re seeing requests for flexible working increase, it’s likely this will only continue to increase. Whilst the statutory entitlement provides the right to request after 26 weeks service, those that consider flexible working during the recruitment process, particularly where roles are advertised with flexibility, are finding it helps attract good quality candidates.

Employment Law Legislation Changes 2018

  • 4th April 2018 is the deadline for private employers with over 250 employees to publish their Gender Pay Gap Reports for 2017, read here for more information.
  • 5th April 2018, new tax rules come into force regarding termination payments.
  • On the 25th May 2018 the General Data Protection Regulations come into force, read our recent GDPR article for more information.

By Jenefer Sands – Wirehouse Employment Law Consultant

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