I see 2018 as a time of change and growth for many individuals and companies. Let me preface the following article by saying that it is not intended to be an assessment of the current economy, any political opinion (pro or con) or reflect any special interests. It is my personal perspective based upon my ongoing observations, experiences and exposure. In my job, I have the unique benefit of being able to watch and evaluate business trends and employment cycles from the job seeker perspective, as well as have exposure to individual economic impacts via my career and work. 

What do I mean by that last statement? It means that in the human resources (HR) field I have the ability to observe others, listen to comments and discussions and evaluate trends and outcomes in hiring efforts on a very regular basis. Whether it is an interaction during a new hires’ orientation, talking with a benefits-eligible candidate or conducting an investigation of a workplace dispute— all of these situations offer unique insights into the personal lives of today’s workforce. In HR you interact on a daily basis with individuals at all levels and positions within the organization, and this can be very helpful and useful if you embrace it. But most importantly for me, it helps me to stay in tune with and grounded in what is important in life—being there for the employees and trying to help them. 

I also believe that anyone who truly embraces this important role in HR—being a servant to your constituents—that we should refrain from using the word “I” but instead embrace the importance of “we.” The use of words like “we” helps keep in the forefront of your mind the purpose for which you exist. When or if you ever become too self-important, you may begin to lose your insight, your compassion and maybe even your ability to serve those that you are meant to serve. 

Well, now, back to the topic at hand—outlook for 2018. Here are some areas where I see improvements in the coming year:

• Improvements in the business and labor market.

• Increased awareness in the area of harassment; focusing on respect and treatment of others.

• Interactions with others; listening to and addressing the challenges and issues faced on a daily basis.

• Improvements in the area of pay equity and equal opportunity without regard for sex.

I am feeling and noticing a change in the prospects for business and for job seekers. Wages are trending higher, jobs seem to be more prevalent and candidates seem to be more optimistic! The events of the last few months regarding harassment and disrespect have, in my opinion, increased awareness as to the importance of respect and fair treatment in the workplace. There also seems to be some progress in an evaluation of the way in which wages are paid to both sexes. However, far and above more important and telling to me, is the way that individuals are more open and honest (maybe even exposing their vulnerability and fears), by engaging in revealing and sincere discussions about the challenges and hardships that they have experienced in the last few months or years. It is eye-opening and tugs at my heartstrings. It reinforces for me that you can never judge another until you have walked in their shoes.

So, in short, here is my prediction for 2018—it will be a year of change, renewed vigor and growth for each and every individual (if you allow it to be). It will be a year of motivation, personal insight and evaluation, and for change. Change can be scary but it can also be rewarding. Look at change as an opportunity to look at life differently, change old habits and for embracing all of the talents and resources that you have to offer.

HR Question of the month: Please send your HR questions and concerns, or share your thoughts on your human resources challenges via email to the following address. Send input to vegaslinda89129@yahoo.com. Your comments, questions or concerns will help determine the direction for my next month’s column and earn you a copy of my book. Include your mailing address when sending your responses.