8 Challenges Faced by HR Professionals
A great HR department manages the entire employee lifecycle, from attracting to retaining top talent.
However, layoffs, mental health crises, a digital shift to remote work, economic downturn, and social unrest are several issues keeping HR professionals up at night.
In this guide, we outline all the major challenges and how to deal with them.
1. Remote Workforce Management
About 25% of professional jobs in North America are remote, according to a recent study.
In the wake of a global health crisis, many companies were forced into taking a remote and hybrid stance before they were ready.
While a remote workforce aids in attracting top talent, it doesn’t come without challenges.
Common problems inherent to most remote work environments include:
- A lack of face-to-face supervision: Research indicates that remote managers can feel out of touch with their employee’s needs. Some employees struggle with limited access to managerial communication and support. Direct supervision can foster a sense of accountability and motivation, which ultimately leads to greater productivity.
- Distractions at home: Virtual workers must contend with suboptimal workspaces that can impede progress and lead to fatigue, such as loud background noises, a child’s needs, and distracting family members.
- Lack of access to information: Research shows that communication problems, such as slow responsiveness, are bound to occur.
- Social isolation: Without face-to-face interactions, employees feel less belonging to their company, which may lead to increased intentions to leave their organization.
Solution – If you want to mitigate the challenges of a remote workforce, implement productivity and collaboration tools to help communicate more effectively and chunk projects into smaller tasks. Also, we encourage more daily and weekly check-ins with employees.
2. Employee Mental Health and Well-being
Employee mental health and well-being are top of mind as HR leaders attempt to win the war on talent. With increased mental health awareness in the modern workforce, employees are becoming conscious of overwork and burnout.
Often it’s incumbent upon the HR department to set up boundaries to ensure proper work-life balance.
According to McKinsey & Company, three-quarters of employers have a designated mental health leader.
Solution – As an HR leader, you should have an open-door policy so that workers can discuss their anxiety, workplace issues, or unfair expectations without fear of judgement. HR professionals can also work with managers to properly distribute the workload to avoid burnout.
3. Managing Diversity
The workforce is becoming more diverse, with more cultures, ethnicities, and age groups in the average workplace.
HR professionals must be vigilant about addressing bias or discrimination as they can affect promotions, employee treatment, and hiring decisions.
Solution – As an organization, you want to set diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. As an HR department, it’s crucial to implement diverse recruitment practices – like using blind resume screening and a diverse interview panel group. Ultimately, a more diverse and inclusive team will bring in more ideas, leading to improved decision-making.
4. Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is a never-ending concern for HR professionals as they look to retain workers. Only 21% of employees worldwide are considered actively engaged.
Disengaged employees often feel disconnected from their work. This can stem from various reasons, such as high workload and stress, lack of recognition, and limited growth opportunities.
Solution – As HR professionals, measuring employee engagement is important since it indicates how motivated, invested, and committed they are to their work.
So how to improve employee engagement? You can host social events and plan company outings to foster camaraderie among team members.
However, recognizing top performers and offering growth opportunities is perhaps the best way to drive a sense of purpose in their work so employees don’t go through the motions.
5. Compensation and Benefits
Compensation and benefits are a driving force in recruiting, attracting, and retaining top talent. Human resource professionals are tasked with developing an attractive compensation package that satisfies employees.
Balancing the competitive marketplace while adhering to budget constraints is difficult for many HR professionals to navigate. The key is understanding what employers are looking for and what kind of package you need to attract the right employees.
Solution – Salary should be competitive. You can include performance bonuses to help them earn more than others would in a normal base salary. Also, sweeten the pot by accommodating flexible work schedules, extending vacation time, and offering more training opportunities.
6. Building Digital Dexterity
Digital transformation isn’t just an initiative for progressive companies to gain a competitive edge over their peers — it’s a business requirement.
HR software now automates manual processes such as payroll, performance management, accounting, and onboarding into cloud systems.
Companies need to assign key HR executives to lead the charge for tech implementation.
Solution – Digital tools help save time and money while improving the employee experience. There are many examples of digital transformation in HR, and it’s important to begin implementing these strategies in your organization. This includes:
- Digital onboarding: HR professionals should use an application to upload training, reskilling, and upskilling content, giving new hires or promoted employees the resources they need.
- Employee self-service portals: The portal should be the main hub where employees can access HR information, such as getting a copy of a W2 form or scheduling time off.
- AI-powered applicant tracking systems: Helps to automatically screen out applications based on pre-programmed filters. This could be keywords, education, skills, years of experience, etc.
7. Leadership Development
About two of every five HR professionals believe that developing organizational leaders is the greatest challenge in the upcoming years.
Companies that promote from within struggle with leadership development since many talented employees who excel in one role are suddenly thrust into a new role – one that requires them to lead the way.
Solution – The HR department can provide the right support system to empower new managers. This starts with offering supportive processes like feedback tools and employee surveys so managers receive insight into their performance. Additionally, managers should attend training and leadership workshops to better hone their ethos and motivate their team to perform their best.
8. Employee Retention
Gone are the days of a person working at a single company for 40 years. Recruiting and hiring new employees costs more than retaining existing team members.
In today’s economy, employees seek to switch jobs for many reasons:
- Better compensation
- Improved work-life balance
- Career advancement
- Lack of organizational and cultural fit
- Poor leadership
- Lack of job engagement
As HR professionals, it’s your responsibility to identify these areas and implement initiatives that address these issues.
Solution – Offering a well-rounded package of benefits is a great start. Providing wellness programs, flexible work schedules, and other perks helps improve your people’s well-being.
Additionally, employees must see a long-term future with the company. Make sure to align the company’s mission with their own professional development. Find out your employee’s career aspirations and help them achieve that. For example, showing them a path to a managerial role or giving them more autonomy in their work can help them feel more engaged.
Frequently Asked Questions
Anticipating and learning how to mitigate challenges will help you to achieve your HR department’s major objectives.
Here’s a FAQ section that gives you an overview of those challenges.
What Are the Challenges to an HR Professional?
Human resources handle all matters concerning employees. When it comes to interpersonal problems, the responsibility falls on HR leaders to implement solutions. HR professionals face challenges managing a remote workforce, quelling employee duress, delivering on diversity, equity, and inclusion promises, providing fair compensation, and training new hires.
What Are the Three Main HR Challenges?
Human Resources is a broad department that has many moving parts. That said, three areas are the biggest challenges, including talent acquisition and retention, boosting employee engagement, and managing diversity. Fifty-one percent of employees feel disengaged, and 13% are actively disengaged.
Resilient leaders are finding ways to overcome these new-age challenges.
The right strategy and technology can help to streamline many HR processes so that your people can thrive in a happy, productive work environment.
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