Every company faces problems in running various departments and consistently enforcing their policies. That is why they rely on specialists in their HR departments to keep staff aligned with organizational goals, whether it means addressing personal conflicts or putting together attractive benefits packages.
HR specialists cover many different areas of a company’s operations. Here are some common challenges faced by human resource managers today.
A constant requirement for HR is finding and onboarding new employees. Employees lost through attrition, layoffs or disciplinary action have to be replaced to sustain or increase production. Selecting and interviewing candidates with the right set of skills, personality and dependability is an involved process. This is true both of positions requiring specific education and skills or general labor where you can receive dozens, if not hundreds of applicants.
HR managers must have software or systematic procedures for rapidly narrowing down the field of candidates, scheduling, conducting a series of interviews and checking references. Promising applications can be retained in an ATS database should other suitable positions open. Developing more efficient recruitment procedures is a constant demand on HR.
Employees may see HR as responsible for hiring new talent. But one of the primary challenges in people management is retaining current employees.
It’s simply more efficient and cost-effective to retain talent. When employees leave, the company suffers a loss of productivity. It takes a long recruitment and training process before that productivity is restored. One of HR’s primary roles is to keep quality employees engaged with the company and their jobs.
The average cost of onboarding new employees could be anywhere from 16% to 200% of their annual salary, depending on the position involved. Retaining talent often requires a complex plan involving company culture, incentives, opportunity, benefits and pay rates. It’s important employees are satisfied with all these factors so they don’t look for other opportunities.
Though it’s often necessary, discipline is one of the most difficult issues HR is forced to deal with. Failure to adhere to schedules, unsatisfactory performance, drug or alcohol use, a history of personal conflicts and other poor behaviors require HR to step in. Negligent behavior can lead to accidents, lower production or work quality , and cause internal conflicts in the workplace.
HR must retain documentation of unacceptable behavior, poor performance reviews, insubordination or other incidents that affect an employee’s value to the company. This can be time consuming but it would be unfair not to apply the same set of rules to every employee. It’s also important that employee behavior be recorded and dealt with consistently to avoid potentially damaging lawsuits. In wrongful termination lawsuits, 67 percent are decided for the employee and out-of-court settlements average $40,000.
One important challenges in people management is ensuring every employee is content with their compensation. A common misconception is that employees always expect a raise, and that the greater the raise, the happier they’ll be. However, it’s more often a matter of employees feeling they’re fairly paid. This requires HR to investigate and track current salaries within their industry and geographic region for various job roles to establish a basis of what’s fair and what is not. Employees who perceive themselves as underpaid will typically reduce their efforts to what they see as fair balance of pay and labor.
Benefits are an extension of compensation. Employees might be willing to accept a lower salary for better medical insurance plans, for instance. Other benefits like vacation time, stock options and so forth can cause an employee to leave or stay.
Many companies are required to keep detailed records on health and safety practices to remain in compliance with government regulations. These laws are meant to protect employees by penalizing companies that don’t adhere to safety standards. Employee accidents can lead to reduced production, lawsuits or the filing of workers’ compensation claims.
When a health and safety incident takes place, HR is often responsible for seeing that the business has met its legal requirements, the proper documentation was kept and every expected precaution was taken. While many companies have safety officers to provide training and monitor workplace conditions, they are usually part of or report to HR, which has the responsibility of ensuring the company’s interests are best represented.
The biggest mistake HR can make is showing favoritism. This could be excessive wages, unique benefits, or choosing to overlook recurring rule violations. If employees begin to feel that unfair treatment is taking place, it builds resentment that undermines productivity, job satisfaction and loyalty. HR must deal with issues fairly and consistently to avoid causing more serious problems.
Caroline is a writer with years of experience in business administration. She enjoys meeting new people and reading more books to get inspired for her own book. She currently writes for Carter Capner Law, a progressive, innovative and strongly motivated law firm based in Queensland, Australia. Her twitter, @BCarolinebird12.
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