Attracting top talent remains a key concern for successful HR directors. But each new year also brings a host of new challenges related to policy, benefits, technology and more. Let’s take a look at some of the top HR challenges for 2016.
1. Family Leave
The Huffington Post called 2015 “a tipping point for paid leave,” with the topic taking a small spotlight in the political debates and the President’s State of the Union. While only three states – California, Rhode Island, and New Jersey – currently have paid family leave policies, many others are now considering it. Until such policies are in place, companies can offer generous paid leave as a recruiting and retention tool.
In addition to finding a balance between what’s fair and what’s practical when it comes to paid leave, HR departments will need to determine how best to fill the roles left empty by employees on leave. For some, independent contractors and outside agencies will be the answer, while others will simply divide tasks between existing employees.
2. Capturing Knowledge, Training the Next Generation
As the U.S. baby boomer work force continues to retire, there’s a real challenge to capture and transfer their knowledge in a way millennials and the upcoming Generation Z or “The Founders” can embrace. Organizations who encourage mentoring, employ gamification for training younger generations, and find ways to keep the Boomers satisfied so they are willing to go above and beyond in sharing their knowledge, will shine for years to come.
3. Determining the Right Benefits for a Diverse Workforce
Baby boomers are more concerned about solid retirement benefits, GenX seeks work-life balance and Millennials want a fun work environment with flex-time and telecommuting options. Finding ways to keep multiple generations of employees happy and motivated is enough to stress the imaginations – and the budgets – of any HR team. Having an open-door communication policy, offering flexible benefits packages, and understanding a one-size-fits-all approach no longer works can help HR departments provide the best of all worlds to employees.
4. Reputation Management
There are 307 million people monthly using Twitter. And it only takes one tweet to send a career spiraling, as Justine Sacco, a communications professional who made racist tweets and was subsequently fired and left unable to find work, showed us.
Because the actions of employees can reflect on the company as a whole, reputation management and social media policy are no longer just functions of the PR and marketing team. The burden is on HR directors to understand this powerful medium and ensure employees adhere to policies – in some cases even when they are tweeting or posting from their personal accounts. If an employee does go awry on social media? An immediate response can save the day. For instance, Sacco’s firm acted quickly to fire her and show the world they did not condone her actions, before her tweet had a chance to reflect poorly on the company.
5. Securing Employee Data
No entity is immune to having personal, company, or employee data stolen. While the burden is on the IT staff to ensure the safety and security of employee data, HR also plays a role in reassuring employees that data is safe and in dealing with consequences should a breach occur. HR departments should work with the IT department to establish best practices for security, and may consider credit monitoring as an employee benefit.
6. Bring-Your-Own-Device Questions That Aren’t Going Away
There’s more crossover between HR and IT than ever before. As more employees bring their work home – literally and figuratively – it’s up to the HR department to work with IT and establish reasonable Bring-Your-Own-Device policies. In some cases, it’s easier and more cost-effective to provide employees with laptops, smartphones, or tablets they can bring home. Whatever the HR and IT departments decide regarding BYOD policies, it’s a conversation that must take place.
7. Shortage of Skilled Labor
In May 2015, the U.S. had 5.3 million job openings, states an article on CNN Money. Yet, in a recent CareerBuilder survey, 30 percent of employers said that not being able to find qualified candidates for open positions was their biggest challenge.
While the government explores ways to provide training and create a larger skilled workforce, it’s up to HR teams to fill those positions. This could mean lowering expectations of candidates, providing more on the job training, or increasing wages to attract the skilled labor employers need.
This article just skims the surface of concerns for HR departments, and will hopefully serve to open dialogues in your organization to address these, and many other, issues. What are your biggest HR challenges for 2016?
If recruitment and staffing continues to be a challenge for you, let CareerCo help…