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Human resources departments face significant challenges as their roles become broader and more strategic in the early 21st century. HR is more than a basic function that involves hiring, training and retaining employees. It is a key element in developing a workforce that aligns with the mission and vision of a business. With increased relevance come increased obstacles. Talent management is the term used to describe the HR process of hiring and retaining top employees.Human resource professionals themselves anticipate that retaining the best employees will be the greatest HR challenge in 2022, according to a November 2012 poll by the Society for Human Resource Management. Employees have a tendency to job hop as economic challenges make it difficult for companies to maintain high levels of pay over time. The SHRM poll and a similar one in 2010 by PricewaterhouseCoopers both indicated leadership development was a key HR concern and challenge.As companies grow and expand, developing leaders who are promotable is important. Leadership development also connects to retention in two ways. Employees often indicate poor manager leadership as a reason for leaving jobs. Additionally, employees want more active leadership roles in decisions within their departments and jobs, which may necessitate training. Unfortunately, businesses sometimes struggle to come up with the budgets necessary for strong employee training and development programs that emphasize leadership and growth.Human resources play an active role in the development of an organizational culture. Increased diversity contributes to the challenge of building a cohesive culture. While people from different backgrounds bring fresh ideas and perspectives, differences also contribute to the prevalence of conflict. Cultural variance in values and rituals affects the abilities of employees to find commonality, which is important to communication. Cross-cultural teams and diversity management are tools used by HR to positively impact a diverse workplace.Lack of technical talent has made it difficult for companies to fill specialized positions. Even during periods of high unemployment, technical and technology-driven companies find a shortage of employees with the training and competencies to perform in niche jobs. This has caused some HR departments to collaborate with local colleges in the development of courses and training programs to help them fill needed roles One reason companies don’t invest in creating a dedicated HR department is because they fear too many challenges will render the effort seless and create more problems than it’s worth to have HR professionals on staff. Once identified, HR operational challenges can be minimized and even eliminated. Overcoming HR operational challenges involves looking at all of the factors involved in making an HR department work: recruitment and selection, automatic processing of employment actions and hiring staff that can address the challenges head-on. Ineffective HR technology can create havoc in HR operations.Technology solutions — meaning the human resources information systems — are supposed to streamline the recruitment and selection actions, improve payroll efficiency and protect the confidentiality of personnel data and records. An HRIS that doesn’t meet the needs of an organization can be ineffective because it’s outdated, improperly installed or too complex an application for HR staff with limited skills. HR operations become challenging when the technology simply doesn’t work for the organization.Companies can’t always train HR staff, particularly when they’re in start-up mode, and they require HR employees whose ramp-up time is minimal so they can get a new company off the ground. Experienced recruiters, benefits and employee relations specialists, training experts and HR managers are critical to smoothly running HR operations. Absent a well-qualified staff, an organization risks losing employees who become discouraged with the lack of expertise in handling simple or routine employment matters.Also, inexperienced HR staff might not be trained to handle employee relations issues properly, which can cause employers to become embroiled in litigation or formal complaints about their employment practices. These types of challenges are time-consuming and costly. HR departments are only as effective as the company’s leadership team that supports its activities and heeds advice from HR management. HR operations that include direct contact with employees must have support from department supervisors, managers and executive leadership. Lack of support undermines HR operational effectiveness.HR operations, such as disciplinary review, performance standards and appraisals, termination meetings and exit interviews, cannot progress smoothly unless the leadership team’s goals are parallel to HR departmental goals. References Luthans, F. Human Resource Management (Pre-1986) Volume: 17 Issue: 3 (1978-09-01) http://search. proquest. com. proxy-library. ashford. edu/docview/887725529? accountid=32521 Walker, W. Human Resource Planning. 1999, Vol. 22 Issue 2, p5-7. 3p. PERSONNEL management; INDUSTRIAL management; STRATEGIC planning; Human Resources Consulting Services; Administration of Human Resource Programs

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