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The 12 months of 2016: January

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In our 12 Days of Christmas countdown we look at the most interesting HR happenings of 2016

Employment rate highest since records began

There were 31.39 million people in work in September to November 2015, the highest on record, according to data released in January. The ONS UK Labour Market report found that there were 267,000 more people in work than for June to August 2015, and 588,000 more than a year earlier.

Private messages ruling

The European Court of Human Rights ruled that a company that read a worker's Yahoo Messenger chats sent to his family while he was at work was within its rights. The worker, an engineer in Romania, had been using Yahoo Messenger for personal contacts as well as professional ones. Because it believed it was accessing a work account the firm had not erred by snooping, the judges said. However, employers were warned not to take this as a ‘green light’ to look through employees' messages.

The best bits of HR magazine in January:

Spotlight on whistleblowing

The Co-op case made the stakes in whistleblowing cases clear. So what is best practice here?

What's in a name?

We're taught not to judge a book by its cover, but what about by its title? Name-blind recruitment could improve ethnic diversity.

HRDs cannot 'dictate' company culture

Mandy Bromley, global OE director for Unilever, discussed flexibility in workplace culture.

Rise of the machines: What automation means for HR

In our January issue cover story deputy editor Jenny Roper took an in-depth look at what automation means for the future of work – and the HR function.