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The Challenges of Human Resource Management

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The rapid transformation of the business landscape means that there are many HR management challenges today that will continue to evolve in the years to come. Tom Marsden, director of professional services at Alexander Mann Solutions, said HR departments really need to add real value to their organizations. "While the restrictions of the recession are not yet over, companies recognize that they will need to take steps to retain their staff. This can be done by placing more emphasis on training and engagement programs or by investing in areas that will optimize spending, such as integrated technology systems or improved candidate attraction systems. All indications are that HR departments are gearing up to optimize their resources and people as organizations grow."


The Evolution of HR Professionals

Coach. Counselor. Employee advocate. Business strategist. As the business world evolves, so does the role of HR professionals. Since human resources is a business-focused function, effectiveness depends on a thorough understanding of the company's strategic direction, as well as the ability to influence key policies and decisions. In addition, success requires defining the challenges of human resource management and finding solutions.

Today's Top 10 Human Resource Management Challenges

Due to fluctuations in the economy and local and global advancements, many changes are occurring rapidly that affect HR in a wide range of areas. In the Global HR Challenges: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow survey, conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers on behalf of the World Federation of Personnel Management Associations (WFPMA), several challenges for human resource management were revealed. The survey, which concluded that "despite national and regional differences, there was remarkable unanimity," revealed the following top 10 HR management challenges:

Let's take a closer look at the top 3 human resource management challenges:

Managing change
Because it is not typically a focus of training and development for HR professionals, change management is a particular challenge for people management. The WFPMA notes that "this may also be why it is cited as the most important issue as HR continues to try to help companies move forward. More emphasis on training may be needed to develop additional skills to deal with change management."

Leadership Development
The second major challenge for human resource management, leadership development must be a key strategic initiative. HR professionals are expected to provide the essential structures, processes, tools and insights to best select and develop the organization's future leaders. The WFPMA reports that "worldwide, leadership development has been identified as a critical strategic initiative to ensure that the right employees are retained, that the organization's culture supports internal performance to gain market position, and that managers are equipped to take on the leadership roles of the future so that the organization is sustainable in the long term."

Measuring HR effectiveness
How can you improve without the right tools to measure HR effectiveness? Like many other industries, this profession also needs to be able to measure results in terms of transaction management, as well as positive business influence. "Using measurement tools to determine effectiveness is the beginning of a shift away from seeing the role of HR as a purely administrative function to seeing the HR team as a true strategic partner within the organization," WFPMA says. "In fact, the following section reports that survey participants believe that organizational effectiveness will be a critical issue for HR in the future - once again confirming HR's critical role as a strategic partner to management."

The global federation also notes that "while HR departments have traditionally focused on measuring their own effectiveness, there is a growing recognition that they can provide organizational value by measuring the effectiveness of the entire enterprise. This shift is significant because it represents a shift from simply counting the number of hires to determining the return on investment of collective and individual hires over the long term. Beyond measuring turnover, this new approach takes into account the 'bad' and 'good' turnover, as well as the overall cost of replacement hires."

The Numbers Speak for themselves

When you start to look at the numbers, you realize the significant impact of the trends and challenges in human resource management. There are many variables that influence human resource management. To give you a glimpse of some of the changes to come, the HR Leadership Council has released the following statistics:

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

Develop your skills and enhance your expertise

To meet or exceed all these people management challenges, you'll 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 entirely online. In Villanova's online master's in HR program, you'll learn to:

  • Implement strategic organizational changes to improve quality, productivity, and employee satisfaction
  • Build an effective training program
  • Design a compensation system that motivates employees
  • Structure benefit plans and measure their success
  • Identify the principles of human resource development, utilization and retention
  • Use data and statistics to make informed business decisions
  • Leverage technology to enhance the contribution of the human resources function to the organization
  • Develop financial management and budgeting skills

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