Human resources are essential to all businesses. It is responsible for employee morale, workplace safety, employee training, steering remote work, and compliance with provincial and federal regulations. No HR function is unimportant or negligible. Managing Human Resources is a challenging task, and HR professionals and businesses face more HR challenges than at any other time in history. A global pandemic, vaccination policies, never-ending regulation changes, remote-working, layoffs etc., are keeping HR departments up at night.
Check out the most critical HR challenges of 2021 and their solutions.
1. Navigating through regularly changing rules and regulations of HR Compliance
The Challenge: The HR compliance landscape is ever-changing with regular policy updates and regulation changes, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic running around. It is almost like the game whack-a-mole. Businesses struggle to catch up with the amendments and make necessary changes to their documents and procedures to stay compliant.
The Solution: Being HR compliant is no easy task, and staying compliant is even more challenging. The key is to monitor the regulations and make necessary changes constantly. How are you receiving the updates now, and how soon are you getting them? You need to implement a system to receive regular legislative updates as soon as they happen. If you do not have a systematic and thorough method, you are more likely to be non-compliant.
You may visit the government websites regularly, subscribe to newsletters of HR organizations, and even join HR communities. But are they compelling enough? You need to have a fool-proof alert system and a team of HR experts to handle regulation changes. If you are the business owner or someone wearing too many hats, the best way would be to outsource the task to expert HR consultants for all the tracking and HR action.
2. Researching and writing error-free HR documents
The Challenge: Employee handbook, HR policies, employment contracts, and Job Descriptions – researching, writing and proofing all these documents can be tedious. What is more challenging is to align them with the company goals and update them when a change occurs. Incorrect Job Descriptions, Inadequate HR Policies and an outdated Employee Handbook can cause critical problems to your business.
The Solution: Free templates! Yes, numerous websites offer free HR policies and Employee Hand Book templates. The best part is that you can download them in editable formats. However, you cannot expect these documents to get you through the year with just a few minor tweaks. You will have to ensure they cover all the aspects directed by the employment jurisdiction and match your working culture. HR documentation is always a work-in-progress task, and all the documents must be regularly reviewed and revised.
Another solution is to hire an in-house HR expert or to take the help of a law firm. These options are relatively expensive, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. The best choice would be to outsource your HR documentation task to an HR Consulting firm that can custom-write the documents for an affordable cost.
3. Getting employees to follow Workplace Safety and HR Policies
The Challenge: Even with the policies in the Employee Handbook and the safety instructions, violations and accidents keep happening at workplaces. A surprising number of OHS compliance violations occurred because the staff, including the supervisor, didn’t know better. Businesses face challenges in finding suitable training material and the time spent on mass training.
Solution: The only solution to this challenge is implementing a rigorous training program for your staff specially designed for your business. The training must educate them that the rules are there to protect them from mishaps at the workplace. Employees must know the significance of HR policies such as Workplace Harassment and the consequences of non-compliance.
It would be best if you administered Health and safety training to staff, contract staff, visitors and supervisors. They must be aware of all possible hazards that could happen at the workplace. The team must be educated with safety precautions and procedures while dealing with machinery and what to do if a hazard occurs. You must have a comprehensive training program for managers to keep them up to speed on new legislation and periodically refresh their knowledge.
Numerous organizations such as HR Covered can codify an online/offline training program for your business that each employee can attend, thus saving time and the hassles of mass training.
Remember, Employers who spend time training their staff also get an indirect benefit: employees who feel valuable and capable of doing more for your organization.
4. Hiring A-Players
The Challenge: Recruiting the Best Talent requires a lot of time and work, including preparing the perfect job description, evaluating the skills and qualifications needed for the job, the compensation, attracting candidates, sorting and screening through the applications and finally handpicking that ideal employee who fits the job role and your workplace culture.
Solution: It all starts with writing an accurate Job Description to attract the right talent. The Job Description must cover the exact Job Role, Responsibilities, Skills required and Preferred Qualification and Work Experience. This step needs the help of an HR expert who also understands your business industry.
It will help if you organize your recruiting tactics across multiple channels that include Job Posting websites such as Monster, professional networking sites such as LinkedIn and having a careers section on your website.
You must also implement a stringent screening method to sort out the resumes that fit your requirements. It is also important to share feedback with the candidates who weren’t shortlisted.
In short, you must have an experienced team of HR experts to streamline the complete recruiting journey.
5. The ‘human’ in human resources
The Challenge: On a treadmill to optimize labour costs, reinforce compliance, and adopt technology, businesses have lost the human touch in HR. When there are more important things to focus on, employers push Human Resources to the attic.
Solution: It is time to bring back the human to Human Resources by giving it the deserved attention. Businesses need to understand Human Resources isn’t just about hiring, documenting and firing. There is much more to it than it seems. Human Resources has a vital role in protecting and motivating the most critical asset of a business – employees. If time is your biggest constraint to focus on Human Resources, you should outsource your complete HR to experienced HR consulting firms.
6. Inexperienced HR team
The Challenge: Inexperience doesn’t necessarily mean that your HR professional/team doesn’t have the qualifications to handle HR functions. It just means that they haven’t quite figured out all the methods to tackle various HR complexities, especially the ever-changing HR compliance.
Solution: It is safe to hire an HR expert or a team of seasoned HR professionals who are experienced in core HR functions such as HR Compliance, Healthy & Safety, HR Documentation, Employee Training and Recruiting. However, this isn’t a wise option for small and medium-sized businesses due to the high wages. You can always outsource your HR at a low cost and still get the same level of expertise.