HR has changed over the last decade to a more strategic role that helps companies achieve their goals and vision. But with that, comes a number of challenges HR professionals need to recognise and overcome if they are to deliver on their strategic role.
Here are five challenges that every HR professional faces:
Recruiting the right people
Hiring the right people is a major function of the HR department, and it’s critical to the success of the organisation: recruit the wrong people and you could end up with demotivated, unhappy staff, or you could end up replacing them within a few months.
It’s important that your recruitment procedures ensure that candidates’ values match the values of the company, and HR is proactive in working with managers and have succession planning in place so that the time taken to fill vacant positions is kept to a minimum. Being able to speed up the recruitment process ensures that morale is maintained, as colleagues won’t need to cover the vacant role for as long.
Employees are the lifeblood of every organisation, which makes keeping skilled staff critical. HR professionals need to put in place retention strategies to retain staff.
Retaining talent is about keeping employees engaged, which means creating a working environment that motivates and stimulates employees. As a result HR professionals need to find the balance between remuneration, company culture, training and development, and employee benefits and rewards.
However, managers need to take some responsibility as many employees will join a company but leave a manager. Managers need to listen to employees, help them develop their careers and recognise their achievements and the behaviours that are in line with company values.
Creating a culture that recognises achievement
Recognising and rewarding people effectively is top of the agenda for many HR professionals as one in four people is reported to be considering moving jobs, potentially creating a skills shortage.
A successful recognition programme makes employees feel valued and stems from good management support. And by ensuring your management team are the biggest advocates of any scheme, employees are more likely to participate.
Managers need to be given the tools to be able to easily thank staff for a job well done, encourage and reward initiative and new ideas, and reward staff based on their performance. HR professionals and senior leaders also need to emulate the behaviour and values you want them to practice with their teams.
A lack of appropriately skilled employees makes it difficult for companies to fill vacant positions from internal staff, especially when it comes to the skills needed to fill niche roles. HR professionals need foster relationships with local educational establishments and engage in a dialogue that helps universities and colleges provide courses that meet employers’ needs and can be used to provide employees with additional training.
Other development options, such as mentoring programmes, secondments and giving employees additional responsibility, need to be implemented, and managers need to be assessed and rewarded for the development and performance levels of their employees. Improvement in these areas is a key indicator that HR programmes to improve employees’ skills and knowledge are working.
Managing a multi-generational workforce
An ageing population is creating workplaces made up of multiple generations, with staff in their 60s and 70s working alongside those in their 20s. HR professionals are facing challenges not only in meeting their legal obligations to provide pension auto-enrolment, which will only benefit many employees after several decades but also in developing a multi-generational approach to motivation and employee engagement.
Whether they are developing or refreshing recognition programmes, incentive programmes or employee benefits HR professionals need to come up with a programme and benefits that are designed to appeal and communicate with the different generations that make up their workforce.