Category Archive: Workplace Challenges

  1. Human Resources Trends: Leadership Challenges

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    While many companies have steadily overcome the economic impact of the recession, developing effective leadership in the workplace continues to challenge human resources professionals nationwide. According to a survey conducted by the Society of Human Resources Management, HR managers are concerned about the lack of skilled workers, a trend they predict will affect the labor force for years to come. Without properly qualified staff, the current employment environment experiences a “skills gap,” eventually leading to a shortage of potential managers, supervisors, and other executive leadership candidates.

    Of the HR professionals surveyed by Society of Human Resources Management, 98% believe that a shortage of skilled workers will have some impact on the labor force in the next five years. Professions in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (so-called STEM jobs) are the most difficult to fill. Global competition has forced many American companies to go overseas or seek non-immigrant visas, which are offered specifically for technology-focused jobs. While foreign workers supply a small segment of experienced STEM professionals, HR departments are exploring in-house options to the talent shortage. Educational programs for current employees that might not have the skills, but show potential in attaining them, is a common solution for 36% of American employers , according to a 2012 Manpower Group survey. This way, human resources professionals are able to retain employees without spending the resources to recruit new talent.

    Replacing Leadership Positions

    Remaining competitive in the marketplace hinges on keeping the best people for the job. As the Baby Boomer generation retires and their leadership positions become vacant, human resources managers will face the challenge of locating suitable replacements. However, many employees of retirement age have delayed retirement due to economic uncertainty. This means that human resources professionals must seek ways to develop the leadership skills of young workers in an environment with few advancement opportunities. When the promotions do become available, companies with proactive HR departments will be prepared for the leadership turnover.

    Helping the younger generation of workers feel empowered during a lack of career progression and underemployment will provide an opportunity for HR professionals to create mentorship programs. By connecting the older generation to new employees, human resources managers can retain the skillset of retirees by allowing them to pass on their knowledge in a way that involves all levels of the company. While mentorship programs give access to proven methods of success, HR managers should be on the lookout for new developments that might benefit the office culture. As innovations in technology and social media change the way younger employees interact, human resources professionals must be flexible in the ways they engage this new generation of workers.

    This is a very exciting time to be a human resources professional. Saint Francis University offers an online Master of Human Resource Management degree that attends to the current issues facing HR departments today. Approved by the Society of Human Resources Management, this online degree program offers a course specifically focused on developing leadership in the workplace.

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  2. How to Be a Recruiter and Attract Top Talent

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    There are many different perspectives that inform a human resources department’s policies and decisions. A number of considerations, from legal issues to budget constraints, can have an impact on every interaction a human resource manager oversees.

    One of these interactions occurs during the hiring process, when either independent or internal recruiting teams work to locate qualified job candidates and screen them for potential employment. This process is often informed by the hiring manager, who typically creates a job description and passes it to the recruitment team to help guide their search. Depending on the size of the organization, talent acquisition might be the task of a dedicated team, or it might fall to an existing department of HR personnel.

    Sometimes, however, this process gets derailed by certain factors within the organization. In fact, hiring managers and recruiters might find themselves running into regular roadblocks trying to work together effectively. According to a recent survey conducted by iCIMS, a major recruiting software developer, disconnects between hiring managers and recruiting teams can result in major issues. 77% of hiring managers responded that they felt their recruiter’s process is “inadequate”, while 51% of recruiters say that hiring managers need to do a better job of communicating what they’re looking for in a candidate.

    While recruiters and managers are both accountable for optimizing their processes, there are a few things that an HR professional can do to ensure that the entire organization is happy with the talent they discover. Whether you’re an independent recruiter or working within an organization, here are some of the typical problem areas that, if addressed, can make for a more streamlined, effective hiring process. When considering how to be an effective recruiter, it can be helpful to keep the following common issues in mind.

    Communication Breakdowns

    Lines of communication between the hiring manager and recruiters should always be open. According to the iCIMS survey referenced above, 79% of companies that reported “positive” relationships between recruiting and management make it a priority to meet before the process begins to discuss the position. This helps clarify the qualifications necessary for the position, and also allows hiring managers to establish any other expectations directly. It also makes creating an effective job description a much simpler process for both parties, as any questions the recruiter might have will (hopefully) be answered.

    It’s helpful, as well, to maintain communication throughout the hiring process. If any questions have come up as a result of interviews or candidate inquiries, recruiters should feel comfortable approaching hiring managers for further clarification. Otherwise, the screening process may not reflect exactly what management’s looking for in a candidate.

    Ineffective Screening Processes

    Recruiters are often tasked with creating a screening process that suits the position at hand. Unfortunately, organizational rifts often result in these processes being either undereducated or not in line with what management’s seeking in candidates. 80% of the recruiters, according to the iCIMS survey, feel they have a “high” to “very high” understanding of the positions they try to fill. However, seeing as 61% of hiring managers responded that recruiters have, at best, a “low” to “moderate” grasp of what the position entails, the feeling is far from mutual.

    This comes back to communication, again. It falls on both parties to make sure expectations are clear from the on-set. However, the recruiter, being responsible for the hiring and interview process itself, can make significant strides to solve this problem.

    While it may be possible to use a procedural, one-size-fits-all screening process to fill certain vacancies, others will require more specialized qualifications, or a certain skill that candidates need to demonstrate like writing ability or programming skill. Every position is unique, with a different set of expectations for potential candidates. The hiring manager will be far more frustrated after months of no viable candidates than they will be to spend an hour or two carefully explaining the position and what they expect to see from them. Working to build a process that suits each position and effectively gathers all necessary materials can help ensure that the candidates sent to a manager’s desk fit the bill.

    Lack of Adaptability

    The hiring process begins with attracting qualified candidates, which necessitates creating a job description that accurately reflects the duties required and entices those who might be interested. Sometimes, the first release of a job description doesn’t garner any interest, or results in applicants that don’t meet the requirements of the position. To address this, recruiters can (and should) analyze their postings with the help of hiring managers to target more qualified candidates, or highlight the advantages of working with their organization.

    Once again, this requires communication. 63% of companies that reported a positive recruiter to management relationship said that they collaborate to find the best ways to target candidates for each unique position, including keyword usage, social media promotion, and other techniques. 55% responded that recruiters and managers review resumes together in their organization, and continuously refine the criteria for the position. This sort of active, flexible, communicative approach can make a world of difference in the effectiveness of a recruiter’s efforts.

    Are you interested in building your practical skills in human resources, including expertise in recruitment leadership? Learn more about the online Master of Human Resource Management offered by Saint Francis University.

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  3. Trends in Human Resource Management: Work-Life Balance

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    According to a Pew research project, both mothers and fathers have seen an increase in stress levels due to the lack of a work-life balance. “Stress and work life balance issues are just as challenging for fathers as they are for mothers,” says Kim Parker, associate director with Pew’s Social and Demographic Trends Project. “We found that an equal share of fathers said they were having a hard time balancing work and family life as moms did.” The research project has prompted those specializing in human resource management to implement strategies that provide more of a work-life balance for both mothers and fathers.

    An Increase in Remote Work

    Because of the potent combination of a sluggish economy and federally mandated laws such as the Affordable Care Act, an increasing number of employers hire part-time workers. The growth of part-time contracts, especially in the fields of technology, manufacturing, and accounting, allows management to budget by project, not by salary requirements. This is made even more practical by the development of technology that allows employees to work from anywhere around the globe, paving the way for a globalized workforce that spends more flexible working hours online.

    With the advent of technology that makes personalized working hours and remote productivity more feasible, employees are expected to be more and more immediately available. Mobile devices and laptops make it reasonable for an employer to expect complete connectivity from their remote personnel. So, while an increase in remote work and flexible hours can promote a massive improvement in work-life balance, sometimes the stress of work can find its way into the home with an employer’s ongoing expectation of employee availability. HR managers are often challenged to find the perfect balance between necessary office time and the potential for remote work.

    The Surging Interest in Helping Employees Find Work-Life Balance

    The growing interest of human resource management to provide employees a proper work-life balance has become an essential part of the recruitment process. The work-life perks offered by employer can be essential in recruiting and retaining new talent. Some work-life balance perks include allowing employees to choose whether to work five eight-hour workdays or consolidate the workload into four ten-hour days. Some employers also offer childcare and dry cleaning services to reduce the responsibilities parents face during typical workdays. Flexible scheduling has become popular, which provides employees with more say in what hours they work. But, among all of these emerging trends, perhaps the greatest contributor to finding work-life balance depends on encouraging employees to pursue the right balance of remote and in-office work.

    Online Master of Human Resource Management

    Learn how you can help your company examine and optimize their employee benefits package with the Saint Francis University online Master of Human Resource Management program.

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  4. Human Resource Management Challenges: Retention

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    Recent research conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reveals some intriguing findings in the HR field. SHRM asked a sample of human resource professionals what they believe to be the three biggest human resource management challenges facing them over the next 10 years. Over 50 percent of human resource executives polled stated that retaining and awarding employees, along with developing future leaders, present the two biggest challenges facing their HR departments. Other concerns include creating attractive corporate cultures to recruit employees, hiring employees who possess highly specialized job skills, and competing for talent in the labor market.

    Employee Retention

    It should come as no surprise that employee retention tops the list of the biggest challenges facing human resource managers. High employee turnover negatively affects the bottom line, as organizations must invest in the recruitment and development of new team members. Recruitment costs include running online and print advertisements, conducting interviews, and materials used to measure job candidate competencies. Development costs also play a large role in organizational budgets, as human resource departments must spend money on training pay, trainer pay, training materials, and developing lower productivity employees.

    High turnover can irrevocably damage employee morale, which represents the primary driver of worker productivity. Employees enjoy their jobs for a number of reasons, but forging bonds with other workers sits near the top of the list. Retaining employees also provides operational continuity on projects and customer service initiatives. The best employees often mentor other employees in roles that are vital to the long-term success of private and public enterprises. Moreover, diverting resources and attention away from a business’ primary goals makes it difficult to find employees to lead growth-oriented strategies.

    Leadership Vacuum

    High employee turnover rates prevent organizations from developing high achievers to assume mentoring roles. When the best employees leave organizations, they not only take their professional acumen with them, but they also take their mentoring skills. The leadership vacuum makes it virtually impossible for companies and government agencies to produce future leaders who enhance organization growth and financial efficiency. Mentoring provides human resource executives with an informal way to train future leaders. Instead of rigid on-the-job training, mentoring changes the employee training dynamic to one of a much more personable nature. Mentored employees who want to become future organization leaders gain valuable on-the-job training, as well as learning the personality traits of strong leaders.

    Online Master of Human Resource Management

    If you’re looking to conquer the challenges of this dynamic field, explore Saint Francis University’s online master’s in human resources management program. Students examine the techniques and skills necessary to becomes leaders in human resources, helping their organizations support their high-performing employees.

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