What keeps HR specialists up at night? It depends on whom you ask. But there are certain challenges that seem to end up on every HR specialist’s mind or desk at some point, regardless of the industry or organization.
Here are some of those challenges, as well as how to overcome them — and become a company hero.
1. Aligning talent with business outcomes.
HR specialists are often mistakenly seen as the “policy police.” However, one of their most important job functions — recruitment — enables them to play an instrumental role in driving business strategy. They have the unique ability to take the organization’s business goals and determine which person best aligns with each moving part. The challenge lies in thinking about the entire puzzle and how it will fit together, not just focusing on the individual pieces.
For a more strategic perspective, consider creating a strategy map. It’s a diagram used to define a clear path to an organization’s goals. It allows you to make the connection between the people driving the strategy (personnel) and the steps required to achieve it.
2. Lack of transparent communication from leadership.
Open communication allows employees to feel valued and heard. When those lines are cut, it can be costly to employers’ bottom line. Inadequate communication to and between employees can cost companies $62.4 million per year, according to “The Cost of Poor Communications” by David Grossman. A lack of information also forces HR specialists to operate with blinders on, reacting to problems after the fact rather than taking the necessary steps to prevent them.
To create a more open and inclusive work environment, encourage managers to hold weekly one-on-one meetings with their direct reports. Additionally, encourage meetings amongst managers. That can help bring both individual issues to light, as well as issues that impact the entire company. It also allows employers to involve HR sooner, and work together to determine the best path forward.
3. Serving a multigenerational workforce.
There are now four generations in the workplace, each offering its own unique perspective and value proposition.
According to the American Management Association®, those generations include:
- The Silent Generation (1925 – 1946) — They’re known to be loyal, risk adverse, and value interpersonal communication skills.
- Baby Boomers (1946 – 1964) — They’re more optimistic and open to change than the previous generation, but also tend to pursue personal gratification.
- Gen-X (1965 – 1980) — They often question authority, possess strong technical skills, and value work / life balance.
- Millennials (Born after 1980) — They’re educated, team-centric and demanding, but are willing to put in the work to get what they want.
How can HR specialists bring out the best in each generation? Treat them fairly, while also recognizing their different perspectives and preferences. For example, you might create a policy that allows employees to choose their own start time between 7 a.m. – 9 a.m., but they must work a full eight-hour day. This allows early birds to come in early, while allowing night owls to sleep in and show up ready to make things happen.
4. Showing results through data.
Data is critical to getting executive buy-in. And, naturally, your CEO will also expect to see a return on investment afterward. This presents a challenge to HR specialists who have to make the business case for nearly every initiative before pursuing it.
But it doesn’t have to be as cumbersome as you might think. For example, the rising cost of healthcare is often at the top of employers’ minds, with the average premium for employer-sponsored family coverage rising 3.4 percent for 2016. One way that you can help to drive down those costs? By implementing a well-being program that delivers real results you can measure. We partnered with Forrester Research to show how our solution has positively impacted employee morale, productivity, culture, and retention rate for two of our existing clients.
So you don’t have to tell your executives that a well-being program is worth it. You can show them.