Due to the fact that human resources deals with humans there are bound to always be challenges. Human Resources continuously have to find innovative ways to overcome these challenges, ensuring that the business objectives are met whilst looking after their biggest asset, the teams that help built and ultimately drive the business forward.
During 2022 there has been some of the same challenges arising from previous years but we have also seen some new ones rearing its head, pushing human resource teams to be more innovative and hands-on than what they have ever been. Industries might differ but the fundamentals of the human resource management function, challenges and opportunities remain the same across the board and it is vital to understand these to have an effective human resource team.
Below are a few challenges that have made headlines during 2022.
With the hybrid model comes pros and cons. One of the biggest hurdle companies’ face is to keep the employees motivated and engaged. Teams working remotely often find themselves feeling left out or disconnected and it is important for human resource departments to acknowledge this and be proactive in managing the relationships between team members and their managers. Connect sessions and informal sharing sessions have become extremely important and the results of a healthy dynamic within a team is dependent on that. Understanding how each team member contributes to the bigger vision of the company or outcome of a project they are working on builds trust between individuals and in turn cultivate more efficient teams. Open communication and transparency has become critical and needs to be a driving force at all times.
Training and development strategies
Having a training and development strategy in place is crucial for planning upskilling and reskilling in the new economy. There are various tools that HR can use to predict skills gaps and it is important to use these especially in the initial planning phase. In the past a lot of focus was given to training in Technical skills but it has become imperative for leaders to have Soft skills such as critical thinking, emotional and social intelligence and most importantly able to communicate effectively.
Although it is important to have attractive benefit packages to attract talent, human resource departments need to dig deeper and offer meaningful experiences and a greater sense of purpose to your potential employees. Employer brands have become very important and people feel the need to connect to the brand they work for. A successful Employer brand is a brand that stands by its values, doesn’t back down and is passionate about the brand. That will usually attract people that are just as passionate about the brand and whose values are aligned with the company’s values. It is important to build a company culture that is not created to please everyone as it then dilutes the brand and the brand becomes unattractive for talented candidates.
More and more employees want to work for companies that value diversity and offer everyone a sense of belonging. Diversity has remained top on the agenda for human resources over the years but most companies still struggle to build DEI goals into their broader strategic plan. To attract talent a company should set clear goals of where they want to be, assign key results and clear ownership to each objective set.
One of the biggest downfalls for a company is to not have exit interviews in place. This is one of the best ways for human resources to get insight into why employees are leaving and what changes are necessary within an organization to retain talent. There are huge benefits to the human resource deparment if the exit interviews are conducted to gain deeper insight. For instance if there is a pattern in the length that employees stay in a certain role it could indicate that there is a gap in the interview process, perhaps not outlining the position correctly. When employees leave after being with the company for a while there might be other things to look at such as a succession plan or career path strategy to ensure that staff have a clear view of what their opportunity is for growth within the company.
Change is inevitable
One of the greatest human resource challenges in 2022 is coming to terms with the fact that the work place will never return to what it used to be. Long term plans are necessary that account for change and agility. Employees have had a taste of what it is like to work from home and have the flexibility that remote work arrangements offer. Human resources need to take this into account if you want to ensure that you retain and attract talent. As part of the human resource planning sessions they need to be able to accommodate for the pace of change. It is important to have plans in place for an ever changing work environment to ensure business continuity. Some companies go as far as developing alternative or contingent plans to address scenarios that they anticipate to ensure that when the time come they are prepared and there is limited interruption to the business.
Employee Health and Well-Being
After the major disruptions of 2020, employers realized there is a need for customized benefit plans to address individual employees’ most pressing issues. Some forward thinking companies are offering better, more varied benefits, including child and elder care benefits, and expanding coverage to mental health services. To sustain employee health and wellness it has to be incorporated in their daily work lives. This could come in different forms such as offering more flexibility around hours, offering more paid time off, or better managing schedules and workloads to prevent employees from feeling overwhelmed. Surveys have become popular towards mid 2022 amongst some businesses to ensure that HR is abreast of the wellness state of the employees and that everything possible is in place to make the workplace a healthy supportive environment.
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