Woman in a dotted black and white blouse sitting at her desk, representing an HR manager overcoming challenges

How HR managers can overcome common challenges

We’ll take you step-by-step through the most common challenges that HR managers face, offering actionable advice for overcoming these challenges. 
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John Sherman
2016-11-21

A strong HR team is the backbone of any organisation. However, the role is not without challenges. From attracting and retaining employees to workplace security, communication, and leadership development, HR managers face common challenges that many of us could only imagine.  

As such, there is no better time for HR managers to refocus their attention on overcoming common challenges in the workplace. It’s time to develop plans and initiate policies that will build up their companies and their employees!

Acquiring the best talent, overcoming a sluggish economy, and building up a solid leadership team are just a few of the most pressing challenges that HR managers face in today’s business climate.

With this in mind, we’ll take you step-by-step through the most common challenges that HR managers face, offering actionable advice for overcoming these challenges. 

Attracting talented employees

Attracting outstanding employees is the driving force behind any great business.  

For an HR manager, landing these talented individuals is a job in itself. To attract potential employees, businesses must set themselves apart from the competition. The job applicant should not be the only party working hard to impress. 

If an HR manager wants to find all-star candidates for a position, they must put their best foot forward and show the applicant what they have to offer. Great HR managers have to understand how to sell!

Pull quote with the text: If an HR manager wants to find all-star candidates for a position, they must put their best foot forward and show the applicant what they have to offer

As ever, L&D plays a key role in attracting employees, with one study finding that 59% of people say opportunities to learn and grow are extremely important to them when applying for a job. 

To learn more, see our article on how to attract the best talent for your business

Retaining great employees

So, you’ve hired the perfect person, and they’ve signed on the dotted line. Now, how do you get them to stick around?

History has shown that some of the most successful companies have low turnover rates and positive atmospheres.

Promoting a positive work environment and sustaining employee morale is critical for HR managers. There are certain things you can do to keep your workers happy and performing at their very best, such as:

  • Encouraging continued education
  • Offering incentive programs
  • Establishing a positive workplace culture

Encouraging continued education

Offering your employees the chance to consistently better themselves and improve their skills is not only good for them on a personal level but will also benefit the company. For example, 94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their professional development.

Whether you focus on courses offered in a traditional classroom setting or through online education, there are endless opportunities to foster progress in the workplace.

Establishing a positive workplace culture

Focusing on the wants and needs of your employees and providing them with an atmosphere that will challenge them professionally and promote camaraderie should be a top priority for any human resources department.

To demonstrate this, TINYpulse finds that employees who don't feel recognized for their work are 2x more likely to be actively seeking a new job. What’s more, research shows that 79% of people who quit their jobs cite “lack of appreciation” as their reason for leaving. In contrast, a positive workplace culture will encourage employees to remain with a company long-term. 

Pull quote with the text: Employees who don't feel redognized for their work are 2x more likely to be actively seeking a new job

To find out more, read our recent article on 5 tips for long-term employee retention

Workplace security issues

Whether you’re dealing with a potential data breach or a physical situation, ensuring your company is protected against security issues often begins with HR managers.

Reevaluating current policies and determining whether they work for present-day demands is essential. An HR manager will need to look at any vulnerabilities in a company’s structure and decide on a course of action to protect the business and its employees from personal and professional harm.

Economic issues

While the American economy is trudging along slowly, this is no guarantee for the future. Businesses must constantly work to protect themselves from financial downturns.

For HR managers, managing the HR budget is a large part of this protection plan.

Utilizing emotional intelligence

This topic goes hand in hand with our previous suggestions on retaining good employees. The human resource department of any company should promote emotional intelligence within the workplace.

According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, emotional intelligence will be one of the top 10 job skills by 2020. 

Given this, employees want to know they are appreciated for more than just the work they turn in. Whether a business leader takes the time to understand them on a personal level can be a determining factor in a company’s success.

The HR management team should involve themselves in this by assisting the company heads in understanding the need for emotional intelligence.

It’s essential that employers lookout for more than just their own professional gains and focus on the fair treatment of their employees. HR managers should look for ways to encourage a dialogue between employees and managers and promote an appreciation of their team's emotional needs.

For further insights, you can read our article on increasing empathy and emotional intelligence

Invest in leadership development

Good leadership is an essential part of a company’s success. Smooth operations often lie in the hands of the company’s current management team and those candidates with future potential.

To maintain a positive leadership culture, HR managers must support these individuals. This can mean offering a variety of things, including:

  • Enhanced training opportunities
  • Communication encouragement

Enhanced training opportunities

Potential leaders should be identified early and given ample support and training opportunities.

Hands-on experience is the best way to prepare for upcoming responsibilities. Having the chance to shadow and work alongside current managers can be the ideal preparation for future leadership roles.

For current managers and company leaders, training should be ongoing. Over time, there will always be room for improvement with new skills, policies, and technologies to discover.

Communication encouragement

Communication is vital in any workplace. While this may seem like an overstated concept, it’s surprising how many professional leaders aren’t great at communicating with other leaders and employees.

HR managers should seek out online resources that encourage enhanced communication.

Overcoming these challenges will promote business success

Many of the challenges mentioned above not only represent the current professional setting many businesses find themselves in, but they will continue to be relevant for generations to come.

If an HR manager can find the techniques to overcome these challenges, they will provide the company with tools that will last them years. The specifics may change from company to company, but the base necessities for workplace success will remain constant.

For more insights, be sure to subscribe to the Go1 newsletter to stay on top of all the latest L&D trends. Or, you can book a demo today to find out how Go1 can help with your team’s learning needs.

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