HR is more than a basic function that involves hiring, training and retaining employees. It is a key element in developing a workforce that aligns with the mission and vision of a business. With increased relevance comes increased obstacles, which is why we asked four experts to answer the question: “What is the biggest problem facing HR today?”
MADELINE AVEDON, Associate Partner, HR Effectiveness, Aon Hewitt “Managing change is the biggest challenge facing HR today. In this VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world, the speed in which organizations and their workforces must adapt to change is unprecedented. To outpace the competition successful organizations are re-defining their cultures, re-focusing performance expectations, and re-designing approaches to developing people leaders. However, for HR professionals to drive these changes strategically and effectively throughout their organizations, they must manage their own change agenda. They must shed outdated processes and systems, develop strategic/analytic capabilities within their teams, and re-organize how they deliver services to more effectively partner with the business. HR is critical to creating competitive advantage, but it must emerge as a strategic business function to do this — and this will require a focused effort on change management.”
DEBBY CARREAU, MBA, CHRP, CEO of InspiredHR “Being seen as a strategic business partner who adds value to the organization as opposed to being a cost-centre or getting in the way of business operations is an HR challenge. Top organizations develop and leverage a highly engaged workforce to drive the business and attract top talent. A strong human resource team is a strategic weapon. As Peter Drucker says, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”.
“A second challenge HR is facing today is navigating the lightning speed of technology evolution and the workplace implications. Social media is causing a lot of grey areas at work.”
NEALE M. HARRISON, CEO and Founder of Talent Matters Inc. “The biggest problem facing HR today is the lack of will for HR practitioners to get out from behind their desks, policy manuals, and rigid procedures to take the time to understand the business they help operate and support. If they did, they would ask more informed questions, build credibility with their clients, get a better understanding of how they can partner with the business and functional stakeholders to remove bureaucracy and ultimately enable the business to be successful.”
LISA KAY, President and Lead Consultant, Peak Performance Human Resources “Every organization, big or small, faces its own set of HR challenges. Common issues include retention, turnover of top talent, employee engagement, leadership development, multi-generational work environments, recruiting the right people and performance management. To successfully tackle these HR challenges, it is important to take a strategic approach and develop a proactive plan on how to identify root causes and address these issues before they flourish and become a big problem.”