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2019 HR Challenges

Over the past ten years so much has changed in the world, and specifically in the world of human resources.  Employees have new expectations of what a workplace should offer in terms of benefits, culture, and environment, and evolving technology has created an entirely new approach to onboarding and employee management. These changes have forced many challenges upon HR professionals. And, although not every challenge is a bad thing, the hurdles Human Resource professionals will have to face aren’t going to slow down any time soon. 

If you are gearing up for another year in the field of human resources, here is a rundown of some of the biggest challenges we’ve experienced this year and beyond.  

Acquiring the Right Human Capital

Human capital is a huge trend currently in human resources, and for a good reason! When companies invest in their employees and find the employees with the right talent, skills, and attitude they create a future for their business. The challenge, however, behind human capital is acquiring the RIGHT people and investing in the RIGHT resources to grow their talents and retain them as employees.  This year, HR professionals will have to continue to research what makes their employees tick and what qualities make employees a good fit for their company if they want to grow human capital. Then, they will have to put those practices into place, test them, and revise as necessary. Not an easy task for anyone!

Workplace Violence

In the past 25 years, nearly 35 workplace shootings have taken place.  Three of those shootings happened within 24 hours in September 2018 and already in 2019, there has been one workplace shooting that fatally injured 5 people and sent 6 more to the hospital in serious condition.  The increase in violence, specifically gun violence, has not gone unnoticed by HR professionals. This year more than ever, the pressure will be on to create plans for if and when a tragedy should take place as well as pressure to create processes and procedures that can prevent such tragedies from happening.  

Employee Retention

According to an article published last year on 64% of employees in the workforce favor job hopping opposed to staying in one place for their entire career.  Two decades ago, that certainly wasn’t the case, when employees remained with one company for 25-30+ years at a time.  For HR professionals, the job hopping trend has presented the new challenge of determining what types of benefits, culture, and salaries keep employees around for longer than a year or two.  This year, as that challenge continues, the pressure is on due to the fact that employers are tired of overspending on employee acquisition only to see promising talent exit to pursue another opportunity.

Paternity Leave

In the United States, FMLA protects the jobs of new mothers for up to 12 weeks while they take a leave of absence from work after having a baby.  However, nearly 40% of new mothers in the United States don’t even qualify for FMLA, and just because the law protects those who do qualify doesn’t mean they receive any pay.  In recent years, the pressure has been put on big companies to provide paid maternity leave for mothers so they can spend time with their new babies without worrying about keeping the jobs they love so much.  Likewise, fathers have stepped into the discussion noting that they deserve time off after their baby as born as well. This year, it is anticipated that HR professionals will really have to step up to the plate and fight to create policies that offer the benefits their employees want if they wish to keep valuable talent.

Drug Legalization

All across the U.S. marijuana is being legalized as a recreational drug.  And, no matter what side of the aisle you sit on, there’s no argument that this poses a new challenge for HR professionals.  As with alcohol and other substances, HR reps will need to put their heads together to form policies that outline expectations and rules for employees when it comes to using the drug.

AI Technology

Today, AI technology can perform many of the tasks that once took humans hours in just a mere matter of minutes.  This advancement has been used to take HR processes and procedures to the next level, which has saved companies valuable time and money.  However, AI technology has also created challenges for HR professionals such as knowing when it’s right to use technology for a task vs. when it is best to still use face-to-face interactions.  In 2019, that challenge will continue as HR professionals learn how to create a new normal in their jobs while adopting transformational technology.

Benefit Personalization

Like maternity leave, another major component of company culture is employee benefits in general. And today, it seems that every employee has an idea of what benefits companies should offer based on what is best for them.  As a result, HR departments are entering into a season where employee benefits are, in fact, tailored to individual employees as part of enticing compensation plans. As this trend continues, so will the challenges HR faces regarding how much control they actually give employees over choosing their own benefits.

As you can see, there are a lot of big challenges facing HR this year and beyond. Challenges that are far different from those experienced by HR professionals of the past.  However, just like in the past, HR professionals and experts will rise to the occasion to make sure they do what they have always done – take care of their employees and their company.