Practical Ways to Tackle Today’s Biggest HR Challenges

Today’s rapidly transforming global business landscape means companies are now contending with evolution in human resource management (HRM) practices.

Naturally, as the business world evolves, so does the role of HR professionals.

843 global HR leaders at the enterprise, business-unit and sub-function levels were polled for the Gartner 2019 Future of HR Survey.

From the report, three distinct initiatives emerged as HR priorities for 2019:

  1. Building critical skills and competencies for the organization
  2. Strengthening the current and future leadership bench
  3. Improving the employee experience

Based on the survey, evidence suggests that while the human resource department is a business-driven function, it relies heavily on how companies navigate around employee engagement.

Human resource management broadly covers these areas:

Companies that master the intricacies of these broad areas tend to have loyal employees. Employee loyalty is the blueprint for business success.

“Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t have to.”Sir Richard Branson

It is a competitive business environment. Without conscious training and development, employees may lose out on new critical skills and competencies required to succeed in their roles, especially with the tech revolution going strong.

Corporate cultures where employees feel like their personal and professional goals are seen and supported have higher rates of talent retention and fruitful business outcomes.

Consequently, achieving HRM efficiency largely depends on an HR professional’s in-depth understanding of their company’s strategic corporate direction, their ability to influence key policies and decisions, and most importantly, an understanding of their company’s HR challenges – either potential or existing.

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Why Should You Understand These Top HR Challenges?

Numbers rarely lie.

Here are some notable statistics related to human resource management:

  • The U.S. Bureau of National Affairs reports that $11 Billion is lost annually due to employee turnover.
  • Unhappy workers cost the U.S. between $450 and $550 billion in lost productivity each year.
  • Highly engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their companies than their less engaged counterparts – Corporate Leadership Council.
  • 53% of HR professionals confirm that employee engagement rises when onboarding is improved.
  • In a study encompassing 200 companies, the companies with the highest levels of employee engagement were 22% more profitable and 21% more productive than those with low levels of engagement.

HRM practitioners can only add value to their organizations by first understanding some of the challenges of businesses, followed by finding ways to reduce the negative impacts they have on their business.

The Top HR Challenges Today and How to Tackle Them

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The World Federation of Personnel Management Associations (WFPMA) conducted a study in which 10 human resource management challenges were revealed.

The challenges were unanimous, despite national and regional differences from the participating companies.

They include change management, leadership development, HR effectiveness measurement, organizational effectiveness, compensation, staffing-recruitment and availability of skilled local labor, succession planning, learning and development, staff retention and benefits costs – health & welfare.

This article will address solutions for 5 of the top HRM challenges identified.

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Change Management

The WFPMA cites change management as the foremost issue inhibiting HR practitioners. This represents a particular problem for personnel management.

To mitigate this, companies should embrace the possibility of having an intensified focus on training for employees, not just to develop added competencies but also to deal with change.

The purpose of change management is to devise and implement strategies for change, controlling change and equipping employees to best adapt to changes.

With a corporate culture that allows free flow of information and positive employee feedback, change management can be easily attained.

Using customized communication tools, HR professionals can create simple strategies for change management, including:

  • structured procedures for requesting specific changes
  • mechanisms for responding to requests
  • feedback and follow-up protocols
  • new information dissemination

Effective change management maintains employee morale, productivity, and quality of work. An intentional approach to change reduces cases of stress and anxiety while improving staff cooperation, collaboration, and communication.

Training & Development

To foster business growth in a technologically advanced age, companies must assist their existing employees to grow their professional skills.

The direct challenges posed by the prospect of training and development programs range from geographically dispersed workforces, erratic employee schedules, conflicting learner preferences, lack of learner interest and low engagement levels with training materials.

All these challenges can be moderated using a learning management system (LMS), and the benefits of this are worth considering. A customized LMS would help you:

  • Design just-in-time training to update skills or send new information in a timely manner.
  • Create relevant case studies and scenarios to emphasize the relevance of training programs to employees’ roles.
  • Optimize training for easy access on any device.
  • Carry out feedback surveys after different types of training to see what is most useful, and areas where your training program needs fine-tuning.
  • Promote a fun and active learning as part of your corporate culture, amplified by using the gamification model and social tools to unify spread-out employees.
  • Cater to unique learning preferences by incorporating different forms of content, such as video, notes, and graphics.
  • Schedule video conferences, webinars, and online forums for remote team members across the world.

Both management and subordinates benefit from efficient training, which has been optimized to save time (and in the long term, money) while delivering projected learning outcomes.

Leadership Development

The Gartner 2019 Future of HR Survey shows that building critical skills and competencies is now a priority for 66% of HR leaders overall and 85% of heads of learning and development (L&D).

Ineffective managers do not have the capacity to effectively develop employees, so HR professionals need to offer essential structures, processes, tools, and points of view to develop future leaders in their organizations.

Leadership development is a common occurrence in succession planning because all companies want exceptional leaders to take over senior positions when they become vacant.

Leadership development improves the skills, abilities, and confidence of leaders.

The ROI (Return on Investment) from leadership development programs include an improved corporate culture and increased productivity in employees.

This further translates into profitable business decisions and strategies.

Talent Retention

47% of HR professionals point the finger at employee retention or turnover as one of their top workforce management challenges in recent years.

Similar reports indicate that more than 50 percent of employees leave before completing the half-year mark at a new job.

The first step towards designing a better employee retention plan is to understand the core issues causing high turnover. A few pinpointed reasons are inflexible company policies, poor manager relations, unfriendly work environments, lack of learning and development opportunities.

HR professionals have to shift from simply asking (or assuming) what employees want, to listening and determining what they value.

Some tactics employed for talent retention are:

Employee retention not only reduces the need to find new talent but also provides an avenue for grooming in-house leadership positions.

Employee Health and Wellbeing

To improve your organization’s employee experience, you must understand existing pain points in the workplace.

Using employee surveys, one-on-one feedback, or observing industry trends, find the exact points of frustration for employees in your company; and how to fix these issues.

Here 32 free employee engagement posters to get you started.

HR leaders must think of ways to keep a balance between employee expectations and company budgets. Additionally, they need to understand what matters to potential new hires and what type of offerings would attract or retain them.

Today’s employees are looking at these among other possible employment perks:

  • Healthcare benefits
  • Flex time
  • Wellness programs
  • Subsidized training
  • Paid vacation time
  • Commuter benefits

World Manager can help your business address these pressing HR challenges. From creating employee surveys for your critical first step towards improved employee engagement to designing a customized training program with necessary projected learning outcomes, your options are unlimited.

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Disclaimer: This information is meant to provide general guidelines and should be used as a reference. It may not take into account all relevant local, state or federal laws and is not a legal document. Neither the author nor World Manager will assume any legal liability that may arise from the use of this information.

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