human resource challengesAKA Human Resource Challenges to Light Your Fire

Today I’m going to step on some toes. I’m going to push you a little bit. And you know what? That’s a good thing. We all need a little bit of that in order to be the best that we can be. Today we’re going to look at 50 human resource challenges that I’m laying down for you. Below the list, you will find some instructions on how to utilize this information to the fullest extent (click here to jump to the instructions). It’s up to you to decide how you want to handle it, but you have a chance to radically impact your career if you take the time and effort. Your call.

50 HR Challenges

  1. Create some supervisor training to help them fill the gaps and be better leaders.
  2. Develop an HR portal to help save time and resources by answering common questions in one place.
  3. Implement a low cost recognition program. Cheap. Easy. Effective.
  4. Create or purchase a tool to do informal peer recognition so that employees can get in on the action.
  5. Spend an hour learning about your company’s products and services in order to better support the staff.
  6. Evaluate your benefits offerings. Are there any innovative employee benefits you can add to differentiate you from the competition?
  7. Try an autonomy audit with your employees (or talk with your managers about setting one up with their staff). It’s a great way to help them get a handle on their own job duties and build confidence.
  8. Find out if there’s a need for leadership development. Hint: if you have employees, you have leaders. Here’s lesson #1 for your leaders.
  9. Take a peek at your training that you offer (you do offer some, right?). Is there anything you can do to increase the impact of the training you provide or increase the offerings to your employees? Maybe throwing in cost-effective lunch and learn events or something more? Check out the free training eBook to get started.
  10. Think about your HR department/team brand. What does it say about you?
  11. Stop talking about how busy you are. We all are.
  12. Sign up for an HR conference and actually participate, not just show up and grab free vendor crap.
  13. Learn more about social media and how to use it as an HR professional.
  14. Join a SHRM chapter.
  15. Write a guest post for a blog. It’s not as scary as it sounds. Think of one of those crazy HR stories or one of the big “aha!” moments you’ve had as an HR pro. Write it down. Email it to an HR blogger. If you don’t know who to share it with, I’d be happy to help. Here’s some motivation.
  16. Read a book. Here are some that I have reviewed previously to give you a few ideas.
  17. If you find a book you really like, why not start a corporate library and share the wealth of knowledge?
  18. Get certified.
  19. Look for a job at a better company. Sometimes there just isn’t anything you can do to change it if your company culture sucks.
  20. If you’re working in an HR-specific role, learn more about recruiting. It might make you a more attractive candidate next time you’re job hunting.
  21. If you’re a one man/woman HR show, step it up.
  22. Figure out what your leadership is looking for with these questions for an HR manager.
  23. Mentor an entry level HR pro. They need it (trust me).
  24. Offer to let an HR student work with you (here are some job shadow questions).
  25. Do some culture triage. Do you have trust issues between management and line staff? Is senior leadership visible, accessible, and responsive? Find out where the holes are and plug them up.
  26. Write a note of appreciation. Trust me, it’s long overdue.
  27. Learn more about some of the fundamentals of business, accounting, marketing, etc. Learning more about the other aspects of how the business works will make you a more well-rounded HR pro.
  28. Look at your compensation plan for updates/changes. Are you paying for performance? Do you care?
  29. Measure your level of employee engagement. No matter what it looks like, we can all stand to make it a little better. Need some ideas to get started? Check out the free employee engagement eBook.
  30. Develop a quick employee survey to measure satisfaction. And by “quick,” I mean under 10 minutes.
  31. Identify your high potential employees. Are you worried about retaining them? Here’s a free eBook on employee retention to help you. You may also want to consider professional services automation from Workday to identify employees faster.
  32. Develop a succession plan for your key employees. If one of the employees was hit by the proverbial bus and could not work, how would you keep things going? Is there a plan in place? What if a handful of your senior employees decided to retire at once?
  33. Look at your HR analytics and… Wait, you’re not measuring your HR analytics? Then start. Now.
  34. Have some fun! It might seem silly, but this is often the first item to be forgotten when we start thinking about bettering ourselves.
  35. Research some of the innovative new HR technology tools out there that might fit your business. There are plenty of free tools you can check into.
  36. Throw out a policy. How do you know which ones? If it affects less than 5% of your employee population, it’s a candidate for removal.
  37. Think about your HR project management skills. Are they up to snuff? Could you improve in some areas?
  38. Network with other HR pros. You never know what valuable information a random contact might have that could help you in the future. You can do this via social media, local meetings, or internally if you work for a large company.
  39. Is your new hire orientation and onboarding process up to snuff? Do new hires feel welcomed on their first day? Check out the link for a free guide on that topic.
  40. Blow up your performance management system (or tweak it, whichever applies). Whatever the case, it’s not perfect as it currently lies and could use some help.
  41. Give some serious consideration to some of the innovative practices like unlimited vacation, ROWE, Fedex Days, etc. and see which make sense for your business.
  42. Brush up on your time management skills. If you can get more done in less time, you’ll be a more effective HR pro. And you’ll have more time to work on items from this list!
  43. Take a minute to think about what you want your HR team to look like in 5 years and what it will take to get to that point. How will you get there? What will it take?
  44. Volunteer your skills/experience/knowledge. Out of work? This is a great resume builder.
  45. Offer a wellness plan (financial or physical).
  46. Do you know your staff diversity levels? Do you care? (You should).
  47. Institute meeting-free Mondays and free your staff from the tyranny of meetings.
  48. Test the readability of your documents.
  49. Determine your sources of hire and which ones provide the best candidates. Maybe it’s employee referrals. Maybe it’s your social media efforts. Whatever the case, focus on getting more people from the source that provides the highest-quality employees.
  50. Unplug, take a few steps back, get some perspective, and have some fun; then jump right back in with a smile on your face. This should only feel like work part of the time!

And that, my friends, is the list of 50 human resources challenges.

Instructions for the human resource challenges

I’ll wait a second for you to grab a pen and a notepad, because this is meant to be an interactive exercise.

Got it? Okay, great. Here’s what you need to do. First, start reading through this list. When you come across an idea that might be interesting or valuable to you, just jot down the number and keep going. Try to pick out at least three items from this list. It’s okay to do more (or less), but with three solid, pertinent options you will be less likely to skip this exercise altogether. At this point your list should look like this:

  • #7
  • #18
  • #44

Next I want you to go back through the numbers you wrote down and re-read that particular HR challenge. Think of what you’d have to do as the very first step to make this activity happen, and write that down next to the number. If the following steps immediately come to you, feel free to get those on paper while they are fresh. Do this for each of the numbers you wrote down. Now your notes should be a little more detailed.

  • #7 Set up a meeting with our managers, explain an autonomy audit, and give them support.
  • #18 Set a date, pick a study tool, and commit. Study group?
  • #44 Check out the Taproot website. Any projects I can help with?

Now for the “hard” part. Take those notes that you have, type them up in an email, and add the paragraph below to the top of the email. Then send that to another HR person that you trust to hold you accountable. They aren’t going to beat you up, but they will gently encourage you to pursue the challenges that you’ve listed for yourself. Some of these are big challenges, and others small, so it really can help to have someone else to do this exercise with. Oh, and feel free to send the link to this article to them so they can choose their own challenges as well.

Hey! I found this neat list of 50 human resources challenges online, and I am participating in an exercise to help me overcome the challenges that are especially fitting for me. I am reaching out to you to see if you would have a few minutes to respond back and give me some encouragement to face these issues.

The whole point is for this to be more than just any old article that you read and toss to the side. It’s a chance for you to really make a difference in what you do! If you have more human resource challenges ideas to add to the list, feel free to drop them in the comments below.

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  • 23 thoughts on “50 Human Resource Challenges to Overcome

    1. This is an awesome list but I think we take it for granted in the field when we create portals for common questions that our employees will use it. Many older employees still like face to face interaction so I love the idea but we should make sure everyone is trained to use the portals but are welcome to contact us if needed as well.

    2. 51… get involved in cross-functional projects. In other words, get out of HR and see how everyone else works, and understand what they do. Next big challenge for HR in my eyes.

    3. “stop talking about how busy you are. We all are”
      That’s my favorite!!! I can’t lie though I’m kind of pumped about this and I’m trying to narrow down my picks :)

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