The world is changing, and with it, our work, workforces and workplaces. This is the thesis that brought Epstein Becker Green and Deloitte Legal together to form an alliance that provides clients comprehensive and global employment law and workforce management services.
Growing market complexities, from legislative changes and compliance, to the technological and societal forces which are transforming the future of work, are putting tremendous pressure on clients. In this continuously evolving environment, organizations increasingly require an advisor who can address the combined business and legal issues related to its workforce.
The Changing Landscape
From high-profile workplace issues such as pay equity to skyrocketing health care costs, and the impact of digital transformation in the workplace, an organization’s approach to workforce management can have a significant impact on its culture, strategy, and, ultimately, market position and value.
Employees, customers and investors alike are paying closer attention to how organizations navigate these complex issues and, as a result, it has become more paramount than ever that organizations take a proactive and comprehensive approach to managing them.
According to Deloitte Global’s 2019 Human Capital Trends survey, 64 percent of respondents saw growth ahead in robotics, 80 percent predicted growth in cognitive technologies, and 81 percent predicted growth in AI. Addressing the legal risks and organizational implications as these technologies disrupt the workforce is more important than ever.
For example, as employers increasingly consider whether and how to incorporate AI tools into their hiring processes, they should be aware of potential bias risks. While AI certainly lends consistency to the recruitment process, reducing subjectivity in hiring decisions and potentially limiting the likelihood of a disparate treatment discrimination claim, employers should be mindful that the algorithms utilized do not incorporate factors that open companies to liability.
Similarly, while technologies can make it easier for organizations to stay constantly connected with its workforce, that always-on culture can also open up questions about the duration of the workday, especially for organizations with significant covered populations.
The alliance is about teaming lawyers who understand the associated legalities of these issues with technically-sophisticated consultants that can construct and fine tune the policies, procedures, processes or algorithms that will enable employers to take advantage of the benefits of new technologies while minimizing the risks.
The delivery of legal, consulting, risk advisory, or any other professional services in a silo is not what clients are looking for. They want and need complete solutions to the issues they face. That is what Deloitte Legal and Epstein Becker Green can now provide.
A Need for Global Service Offerings
Multinational organizations or companies seeking expansion, especially across borders, or clients exploring changes in how or where they employ, pay, manage, motivate or engage workers need complete and practical business and legal advice under one umbrella.
For example, a large corporation looking to reorganize would benefit from a collaborative approach that takes into account the attendant legal and business ramifications that such large-scale projects present, from issues such as the organization’s design, culture, benefit plans, and headcount impact, to employee mobility, communication, and rollout strategy.
And in crafting global employment policies, employers must be mindful of the applicable and varying laws in the jurisdictions where they operate.
The Deloitte Legal and Epstein Becker Green Alliance Addresses Challenges
Recognizing a critical client need, Epstein Becker Green and Deloitte Legal formed an alliance to provide, when and where necessary, a multidisciplinary team of business and legal professionals who can present comprehensive solutions to significant workforce issues that affect a company’s market position, strategy, innovation, and culture.
The alliance brings together Deloitte Legal’s global reach with Epstein Becker Green’s US labor and employment attorneys and decades of experience in employment law.
For Deloitte Legal specifically, the alliance bridges a gap in the US market, where Deloitte does not provide legal services (Deloitte US is not part of Deloitte Legal and is not a party to this alliance).
For Epstein Becker Green, the alliance enables better service to clients here and globally. Deloitte Legal and Epstein Becker Green will work together with Deloitte’s leading global Human Capital practice, which has decades of experience defining and helping clients navigate the complexities associated with the Future of Work.
What type of clients can benefit most from working with this alliance? The answer is simple—every organization that has a workforce, located anywhere in the world, can benefit from this innovative delivery model.
For example, areas of collaboration could include a comprehensive review of talent management practices in light of shifting workforce composition; worldwide job standardization and employment classification support to recognize the impact of new technologies and ways of working; or global pay equity studies conducted under attorney-client privilege to help organizations navigate a world where transparency of workplace information is in high demand by external stakeholders.
Each of these efforts combine US legal services, international legal services, consulting services, and technology experience, to provide one complete, holistic solution.
As Bloomberg Law summarized and as legal consultants and commentators have noted, this alliance is indicative of the fast changing nature of legal work as it expands to be part of an integrated business service model.
The future workplace and the future professional services delivery model are each changing, and Deloitte Legal and Epstein Becker Green are fortunate to be part of the exciting evolution of both. By embracing the intersection of law, consulting, and practical business solutions, both organizations will be able to better serve clients through this alliance.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. or its owners.
Steven Di Fiore is the chief operating officer of Epstein Becker Green where he is responsible for the operations and strategic direction of the Firm. He began his career at Deloitte, where he was responsible for the auditing and accounting services provided to several large, publicly held, multinational clients.
James P. Flynn serves as the managing director of Epstein Becker Green. As a member of the firm, his practice focuses on civil litigation and corporate counseling, including trial and appellate work in the area of intellectual property, complex commercial matters, and employment law.
Piet Hein Meeter is Deloitte Global managing director for Deloitte Legal. In this role, he is responsible for growing the Deloitte Legal practices globally and realizing scale and depth in corporate, M&A, IP/IT law, employment law, and regulatory in key industries.
Erica Volini is Deloitte Global’s Human Capital leader. She provides leadership to 12,000+ Deloitte Human Capital practitioners, who are focused on helping organizations solve their most complex and pressing Human Capital issues.