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How to Overcome HR Challenges

The most important part of any company is its employees. The task of hiring, paying and training staff falls under human resources departments. Recent developments in technology and social media have added new opportunities and challenges for HR personnel.

Possible Solutions to Common Challenges Facing HR Managers

Recruiting and hiring talent requires a large investment of time and resources from HR managers. Because there are no guarantees that a candidate will be the right fit for a particular business, small companies with small HR departments often hire an outside staffing agency to ensure potential employees are qualified and can match a company’s work culture. The temp-to-hire arrangement allows managers to try out employees with less risk, possibly saving money, time and frustration down the road.

Employee turnover is not only costly, it can distract businesses from their missions and slow business growth. A new hiring trend called onboarding is seen as one way to improve employee retention. While companies have settled for handing out new-employee handbooks in the past, onboarding is a more comprehensive approach to introducing new hires to an organization. The practice, which includes an overview of a company’s job expectations, goals, objectives and insights into work culture, can last well into a worker’s first year on the job.

“Onboarding is about culture setting,” according to David Somers, director of sales at Red Hat. “Onboarding has become completely integrated with the hiring process and includes socialization and using company technology to facilitate that process. Onboarding is a business function.”

According to a 2016 article by the marketing intelligence company Aberdeen, only 32 percent of companies use onboarding in a formalized way. Using onboarding increases worker productivity and new hire retention, the article said.

Other ways to increase job retention include ensuring workers understand their benefits program, creating a system to recognize and reward high-performing employees, and tracking job satisfaction.

As they juggle resource-intensive tasks like hiring, training and record-keeping, HR managers still need to find time to train lower-level employees. Small companies often struggle with this task, but two common solutions include offering online training programs and using managers to mentor new employees.

New Challenges and Opportunities for HR Managers

Technology and social media are two key drivers of innovation within the HR field.

“Organizations are relying on mobile and cloud-based technologies as the foundation of their recruitment and engagement strategies,” said Christa Elliott in a 2017 HROToday article.

While technological advances have added new challenges for employee retention and recruitment, companies can leverage those tools for their own advantage. One hot topic in the HR field, according to the HROToday article, is employer branding. How a company is outwardly perceived can impact its access to talent pools and quality candidates. “A well-executed employer brand can have a major impact on sourcing and recruiting talent,” Elliott said.

Another trend is Software as a Service (SaaS). Based on subscriptions, this method of software acquisition and use is becoming the predominant model for online business applications, according to a 2017 report by BetterCloud. The report cited that 73 percent of respondents expect their companies will run almost entirely on SaaS products by 2020.

Author Kaya Ismail listed the benefits of SaaS in a 2018 article for CMSWire. The licensing-based model, he said, lowers the burden on in-house IT departments while being less expensive and more agile than traditional software.

The field of analytics has grown in recent years as advances in hardware and software allow businesses to analyze big data to make predictions and highlight trends within different industries. Human resources analytics allows employers to find insights into employee performance and recruitment effectiveness.

Erik van Vulpen describes the benefits of HR analytics for the analytics blog AIHR: “Imagine that you can calculate the business impact of your learning and development budget,” he said. “Or imagine that you can predict which new hires will become your highest performers in two years. Or that you can predict which new hires will leave your company in the first year. Having this information will change your hiring and selection procedures and decisions.” He recommends that businesses focus HR analytics efforts on areas that have the greatest impact with regard to cost (employee turnover, long-term absenteeism and policy effectiveness) and revenue (recruitment, performance, learning and diversity).

The field of HR management is evolving, spurred by new tools like data analytics and social media platforms. The online Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resource Management from St. Thomas University provides courses in business data analytics, organizational behavior, strategic marketing management and other forward-looking concepts to prepare students to overcome a wide range of HR challenges. Graduates will be prepared to forecast staffing needs, effectively recruit new talent and foster employer-employee relationships.

Students can finish this accelerated degree program in as few as 10 months.

Learn more about the STU online MBA with a concentration in Human Resource Management program.


BetterCloud: The 2017 State of the SaaS-Powered Workplace Report

AIHR: What is HR Analytics?

Efront: Top 7 HR Challenges and How to Face Them

HRToday: Overcome HR Challenges

AtlasStaffing: 10 of Today’s Common Human Resource Challenges

National Business Research Institute: Onboarding Is Critical to Business Success

Aberdeen: Perfecting the Onboarding Funnel

CMSWire: Will SaaS Dominate the Workplace?

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