Challenges in Human Resources Management

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The rapidly changing business landscape means there are currently many challenges for HR management that will continue to evolve in the years ahead. Tom Marsden, director of professional services at Alexander Mann Solutions, says HR departments need to add real value to their businesses. "Although the constraints of the recession are not over, companies are realizing that they need to take action to retain their workforce. This can be done through an increased emphasis on training and engagement programs, or by investing in areas that optimize spending, such as integrated technology systems or improved candidate attraction programs. The evidence suggests that HR departments are preparing to maximize their resources and people as companies look to grow."

The Evolution of the HR Professional

Coach. Advisor. Employee advocate. Business strategist. As the business world changes, so does the role of HR professionals. Because HR is a business-driven function, effectiveness depends on a thorough understanding of strategic business direction and the ability to influence key policies and decisions. In addition, HR management challenges must be defined and solutions found in order to be successful.

Today's Top Human Resource Management Challenges

Due to the fluctuating economy, as well as local and global advancements, there are many changes occurring rapidly that affect HR on a variety of issues. The survey, "Global HR Challenges: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow", identified several challenges facing human resource management. This survey, which concluded that "despite national and regional differences, there is remarkable unanimity," revealed the following top challenges for human resource management:

  1. Change management
  2. Leadership development
  3. HR effectiveness measurement
  4. Organizational effectiveness
  5. Compensation
  6. Staffing: Recruitment and availability of skilled local labor
  7. Succession planning
  8. Learning and development
  9. Staffing: Retention
  10. Benefits costs: Health & welfare

Taking a Closer Look at the Top 3 Human Resource Management Challenges

Change Management

Not typically a focus of HR professional education and training, change management presents a particular challenge for HR management. WFPMA states, "This may be why it is cited as the most important topic as HR continues to try to help organizations evolve. An increased focus on training may be necessary to develop additional competencies for dealing with change management."

Leadership Development

As the second of HR's biggest challenges, leadership development must become a critical strategic initiative. HR professionals are expected to provide the necessary structures, processes, tools and perspectives to select and develop the best leaders for the organization. WFPMA reports that "globally, leadership development has been identified as a critical strategic initiative to ensure that the right people are retained, that the organization's culture supports performance from within to improve market position, and that leaders are able to take on future leadership roles to ensure the organization's long-term viability."

HR Effectiveness Measurement

How can improvement happen without the right tools to measure HR effectiveness? Like many other areas of business, this line of work needs to be able to measure results, both in terms of transactional management and positive business impact. "Using metrics to determine effectiveness is the beginning of a shift from perceiving HR's role as purely administrative to viewing the HR team as a true strategic partner within the organization," according to WFPMA. "In fact, the next section reports that survey respondents believe a critical future issue for HR will be organizational effectiveness - which in turn supports HR's critical role as a strategic partner to management."

The World Federation also notes, "While HR departments have traditionally focused on measuring their own effectiveness, there is a growing recognition that they can create organizational value by measuring the effectiveness of the entire business organization. This shift is significant because it represents a transition from simply counting the number of people hired to determining the long-term ROI of collective and individual hiring. This new approach goes beyond measuring turnover to consider 'bad' and 'good' turnover, as well as the total cost of replacement hires."

The Numbers Speak Volumes

When you start looking at the numbers, you realize the significant impact of trends and challenges in workforce management. There are many variables that affect workforce management. To give you a glimpse into some of the upcoming changes, the HR Leadership Council released the following statistics:

  • One in four high potential employees plans to leave their company in the next year
  • By effectively developing employees, managers can be better coaches and improve performance by up to 25%
  • Three in five companies have either restructured or plan to restructure within the next six months
  • Recent declines in employee engagement have reduced overall productivity by 3% to 5%
  • Leaders with strong people development skills are 50% more likely to exceed revenue expectations
  • Performing critical onboarding activities increases new employee performance by 11.3
  • 77% of midsize companies use (or plan to use) wellness to reduce costs
  • 46% of mid-market CFOs expect a merger or acquisition in less than six months

Expand Your Skills and Increase Your Expertise


To overcome all of these workforce management challenges, you need proven tools and strategies. One of the best ways to gain the expertise you need is to earn your Master of Science in Human Resource Development completely online. In Villanova's online HR master's degree program, you'll learn how to:

  • Implement strategic organizational change for improved quality, productivity and employee satisfaction
  • Construct an effective training program
  • Design a compensation system that motivates employees
  • Structure benefit packages and measure their success
  • Identify principles for developing, utilizing and retaining human resources
  • Use data and statistics to make informed business decisions
  • Use technology to enhance the contribution of the human resources function to an organization
  • Develop skills in financial management and budgeting

For all your Human Resource Management Challenges there's only one solution, move your HRM process to a HRIS. Try IceHrm today to overcome all your HRM challenges.

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