How nice it would be if we could take on our challenges one by one. We could work on them, fix them, and move on to the next one. But the reality, especially for HR, is that there’s no one single challenge.For example, does recruiting impact retention, or does retention impact recruiting? The answer is probably “yes” to both, but which is more important and which comes first? (For more of my thoughts on this one, check out this previous blog).
OK, I’ll stop asking questions and get to the point. The point is, most of what troubles human resources is connected and cannot be dealt with separately, or individually. There is no single biggest challenge to work on – and that’s the point. There’s a lot to deal with.
Top HR Challenges
A recent HR Executive survey on “What’s (Still) Keeping HR Up?” listed these five things at the top of the list of HR challenges (with corresponding percentages):
- Ensuring Employees Remain Engaged and Productive – 39%
- Retaining Key Talent in Today’s Recovered Economy – 26.3%
- Developing Leaders – 24%
- Attracting and Retaining Diverse Talent – 23.1%
- Aligning People Strategies to Business Objectives – 19.2%
You could argue that a lot of what is in the short list is about retaining people. But what’s really there is a combination of things that need to happen in order to get them in the door, have them work productively and contribute to your business. And that’s just the top of the list. The next thing on the list is, “Driving culture change.” Whew!
Set the Focus
So what’s the problem? The problem is that you can’t deal with just one of these. And if you did, and ignored the others, you probably wouldn’t get your one thing accomplished. And there are so many things, that it’s hard to prioritize.
For example (using the examples above), to attract good people they need to see that you develop good leaders, that you will engage them while they work for you and that you will do a good job aligning their skills with business objectives so they can be successful. That’s a tall order.
But wait, you still need to get people into your organization, not just keep them. So you also need to reach passive candidates once you have achieved all that good stuff – to let them know they should come to work for you. So now you have a recruiting challenge on top of all the other challenges.
So here’s the real question – where do you want HR to focus? Which of these is your strong suit and which does your organization need help with? The answer is not easy and usually not easily found, especially with the pressure to keep costs low and justify every penny you spend. But I would argue that you need to do some work on these things and not just your “biggest” challenge. And you need to be open to aligning both internal and external resources to get the most done with the resources you have.
It’s not easy, but it’s achievable. Just remember, it won’t happen if you just focus on that one, biggest challenge you have.
This blog was written by Matt Rivera. Matt serves as Vice President, Marketing and Communications and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of Yoh’s marketing and brand communications. Matt holds a degree in Journalism/Public Relations and has been working in the staffing industry for more than 25 years. Prior to this role, Matt held many different roles from branch recruiting and proposal writing to technology management and online marketing.