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HR’s 10 Big Winners of 2018

This year’s winners in HR include Amazon's HQ2 cities and franchise-heavy employers.
By: | December 17, 2018 • 2 min read
winners

We’re just a few weeks away from welcoming 2019—and, if you’re a regular reader, you know what that means: It’s time for us to revisit the winners and losers of 2018.

As in years past, I’ve limited my selections to 10 in each category, representing a mixture of people, places and things that found themselves in either the plus or minus column during the year—though in the case of some of the organizations in the latter, they may ultimately emerge from the year just fine.

So, without further ado, here is my selection of winners …

Long Island City (New York) and Crystal City (Arlington, Va.), which emerged in November as joint winners of a competition to become Amazon’s new, second headquarters. Together, the two locations will employ more than 50,000 employees.

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AI, which once again deserves a place on this year’s list, given its overwhelming presence in so many new product announcements at the 2018 HR Technology Conference.

#MeToo movement, which continued to keep uncivil behaviors in the workplace and elsewhere in the headlines. (The EEOC reported in October that there so far had been a more-than 50 percent increase in sexual-harassment-related suits this year, compared to 2017.)

Worker-friendly legislation, which will likely become a bigger part of the legislative agenda following the Democrats’ mid-term recapturing of the House of Representatives in November, even if the promise of passage is far from certain.

Franchise-heavy employers, following the NLRB’s rewriting of its joint-employer standard in September, a move that would ease the rule’s impact on companies with franchises and subcontractors. (The NLRB extended the comment period until Dec. 30.)

Individual arbitration agreements, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis ruling. In its 5-4 decision, the court found that such agreements and class- and collective-action waivers are enforceable.

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Outside-the-box C-suite titles like chief culture officer, chief experience officer and chief analytics officer, which began to emerge in great numbers across many industries this year. (Check out Eva Sage-Gavin’s HR Leadership column.)

Fintech apps for workers, which have been on something of a tear in response to the nation’s student-debt problem and the number of people living paycheck to paycheck.

NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement), which, in effect, survived the prospect of total extinction. After a lot of back and forth, the agreement was tweaked and given a new name (the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement) in August. (As of this writing, the agreement still had to be signed and ratified by all three parties.)

Healthcare mega-mergers, following the green light by the Department of Justice for a Cigna-Express Scripts merger in September and an Aetna-CVS Health union in October.

Read our list of 2018’s losers here.

David Shadovitz is editor emeritus and former editor and co-publisher for HRE.

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