How To Solve 10 of the Top HR Challenges (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published September 29, 2021

Human resources (HR) is a department within an organization that handles all matters concerning employees. HR completes many tasks, including recruiting, hiring, training, payroll, benefits and development, and obstacles may arise in any of its main functional areas. If you’re interested in pursuing an HR career, it's important to understand what challenges you can expect and what you can do when you encounter them. 

In this article, we discuss the top 10 challenges in HR, explain how to resolve them and provide a few tips for doing so. 


How to solve top HR challenges 


Here are 10 HR challenges and how to resolve each:

1. Hiring premier talent


Hiring skilled people who can add value to the organization is one of the most important activities of HR. However, it can be a challenge to find high-quality employees equipped for specific roles. 

To find premier talent, consider what platforms or channels are common among the candidates you're seeking. For instance, if you want freelancers or work-from-home employees, you might advertise your positions on sites dedicated to remote work. 

As you receive applications, focus on the candidates' qualifications and on their personal qualities. Often, an individual who's eager to learn and has a personality that agrees with those of current employees is more likely to adapt alongside the organization and stay for the long term. 

In interviews, ask questions that explore the candidate's alignment with your organization's mission and work culture. For example, if deadlines are an important factor in your company's work, you could ask how the candidate responds to pressure or feels about being in a fast-paced environment.

Related: How To Recruit Top Talent for Your Company in 7 Steps


2. Retaining top employees


Retaining the top members of your organization not only, saves effort and costs associated with hiring and training new employees, but can contribute to stronger informal leadership, deeper interpersonal connections between employees and higher workplace morale. 

To retain top employees, you can implement a variety of strategies from onboarding to continued development. Here are a few strategies to consider:

  • Welcome newcomers. Help new employees acclimate to company culture by welcoming them into the workplace. You can connect them with current employees or schedule individual meetings with others in the company.

  • Offer support. Another way to retain talent is to offer continual support to employees. This may be professional, interpersonal or emotional support that helps people feel equipped to accomplish their work.

  • Provide opportunities for growth. Another strategy is to provide many opportunities for growth. This might include internal promotions, regular training or certification courses that empower employees to continue developing professionally.

Related: 10 Benefits of Employee Retention


3. Promoting diversity


Diversity in the workplace can broaden employees' perspectives, expand the pool of ideas and attract further talent by boosting the organization's reputation. Concerning diversity, HR should aim to create an environment that's comfortable and inviting for all people. 

Improving policies for diversity, equity and inclusion can be a challenge for HR professionals as they work towards creating inclusive workplace environments. Here are a few methods for approaching diversity in HR:

  • Develop cultural awareness. One way to foster an inclusive workplace is to develop cultural awareness through programs, orientations or training. This can set a precedent for inclusive behavior and demonstrate the intrinsic value of diversity.

  • Implement diversity initiatives when hiring. Another way to promote diversity is to use inclusive, bias-free language when writing job descriptions. You might post the job on multiple channels to reach a wider audience.

  • Listen to employees. For current employees, it can be helpful for HR professionals to engage and listen to employees about issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. This can provide valuable insight into current issues that need a solution.

Related: 10 Diversity in the Workplace Benefits


4. Offering appropriate employee benefits


In addition to salary, employee benefits are among the most important factors for employees accepting a job offer. Offering the right employee benefits can help resolve other HR challenges by attracting and retaining top talent. To ensure that you're offering the appropriate employee benefits, try to determine what competitors are offering. You can present your organization as a more attractive employer by offering more or better benefits.

To allow for improved offerings, examine which benefits have the least participation among your existing employees. Consider removing unpopular benefits or adopting a system that allows employees to choose tailored benefits. This can make your company more competitive for potential employees when they’re applying for jobs.

Related: Why Are Employee Benefits Important? Types and Advantages


5. Creating or updating the employee handbook


An employee handbook is a document that educates employees about the company's goals and policies, expectations concerning the employees and guidelines for important procedures, protocols or behaviors. Creating and updating this handbook can sometimes be a challenge for HR professionals since it’s the guiding framework for employee policies and company culture.

Here are some details to include when creating and updating your employee handbook: 

  • History and mission of the organization

  • Company goals

  • Company standards, including conduct, work hours, dress code and duties

  • Compensation and benefits

  • Travel and supplies policies

  • Holidays and paid time off policies

  • Company calendar

  • Local, state and federal laws


6. Promoting mental health


Mental health, like physical health, is important for a person's overall satisfaction with their life and their ability to carry out activities. Thus, promoting the mental health of employees can help to improve their morale, absenteeism and productivity at work.

Begin by addressing factors in the workplace that could affect employees' mental health, particularly stressors such as heavy workloads, tight deadlines and other demands. Acknowledging there's a problem can help employees feel validated in their mental health concerns.

You can provide mental health training to your organization's supervisors and managers, teaching them to recognize the signs of failing mental health and encouraging alleviation of workplace stressors. You might also consider revisions to the employee benefits package to include mental health services. These approaches can help with the challenge of mental health within the workplace.

Related: Report: Mental Health in the Workplace is a Top Priority For 18- to 29-Year-Olds 


7. Improving employee engagement


Employee engagement is the degree to which employees feel committed to their job and employer. Higher engagement is good for an organization because it often leads to increased morale, loyalty and productivity.

To improve engagement, begin by focusing on communication with employees. Consider using paper notices, web-based communication resources and employee newsletters to keep everyone up to date on new and pending developments. Being informed about the activities of the organization can help employees to feel included in its progress.

Additionally, try to hear regular feedback from employees. You can use anonymous surveys sent via email or messenger service to ask about improvements employees would like to see, and then communicate with managers, supervisors and executives to enact changes.

Also, provide feedback regularly. You can do this by encouraging managers and supervisors to praise good work, and have HR formally acknowledge achievements with official recognition or incentive programs.

Related: How To Get Essential Feedback From Employees in 4 Steps 


8. Strengthening data security


Data is an essential component in various industries, and preventing any leaks or breaches allows your organization to earn the trust of its stakeholders and comply with federal regulations. Training all employees, including managers and supervisors, on safe online practices, particularly concerning emails from unverified parties. While this challenge isn’t specific to HR, it can impact employee data and privacy.

Consider working with your IT department to ensure compliance with regulations, such as using firewalls, data encryption and two-step authentication. If your organization regularly works with third parties, develop guidelines for ensuring they're unable to access data on the network that doesn't relate to their services. Collaborating with another department ensures that the training you provide is accurate and updated.

Related: What Is Data Security? Definition, Importance and Strategies


9. Ensuring compliance


In HR, compliance refers to the process of creating policies that align the organization with applicable laws and regulations. HR's role is to understand what laws apply to the organization and balance related policies against the organization's goals. The first step to ensuring compliance is staying aware of federal and state-level developments that may affect your employees, such as laws concerning health care or substance use.

Before writing and enacting policies, gather input from members of the organization to determine the best way to balance company goals with laws. Afterward, provide training to managers and supervisors to promote compliance throughout. It’s also useful to have a clear procedure in place in the case of a violation of compliance regulations. 


10. Permitting flexible working arrangements


Flexible working arrangements refer to any schedule, environment or situation that differs from the traditional eight consecutive hours in a central workplace. Alternative work scenarios such as remote work and flexible schedules are now more common, and many employees expect these perks. Thus, introducing flexible working arrangements can help your organization hire and keep talent. 

If it's feasible for your organization to enact such policies, discuss the particulars of the proposal with senior executives. Examine the advantages and disadvantages and define eligibility requirements for specific arrangements.

Related: Guide To Flexible Work Schedules

Tips


Here are a few tips for improving HR strategies to meet various challenges:


  • Get to know employees. One way to improve your approach as an HR professional is by getting to know the employees at the company. This can help you tailor policies, trainings and approaches to meet the specific needs of the current workforce. 

  • Act proactively. Instead of focusing solely on responses and reactions to HR challenges, consider taking a proactive approach. You might try to anticipate needs within the company before they become an issue.

  • Ask questions frequently. One great way to learn more about how to serve an organization is by asking questions. Asking questions can help you better understand the company and the experiences of employees.


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