Today’s HRM Challenges

1. Identify and explain some of the challenges associated with HRM.
All departments within an organization must prove their value and contributions to the overall business strategy, and the same is true with HRM. As companies are becoming more concerned with cutting costs, HRM departments must show the value they add to the organization through alignment with business objectives. Being able to add value starts with understanding some of the challenges of businesses and finding ways to reduce a negative impact on the business. This section will discuss some of the HRM challenges

1. Containing Costs
If you were to ask most business owners what their biggest challenges are, they will likely tell you that cost management is a major factor to the success or failure of their business. In most businesses today, the people part of the business is the most likely place for cuts when the economy isn’t doing well.

Consider the expenses that involve the people part of any business:
1. Health-care benefits 2. Training costs
3. Hiring process costs 4. And many more…

These costs cut into the bottom line of any business. The trick is to figure out how much, how many, or how often benefits should be offered, without sacrificing employee motivation. Still, an HR manager must offer as much as he or she can to attract and retain employees, but not offer too much, as this can put pressure on the company’s bottom line.

2. Technology
Technology has greatly impacted human resources and will continue to do so as new technology is developed. Through use of technology, many companies have virtual workforces that perform tasks from nearly all corners of the world. When employees are not located just down the hall, management of these human resources creates some unique challenges. Technology also creates a workforce that expects to be mobile. Because of the ability to work from home or anywhere else (telecommuting), many employees may request and even demand a flexible schedule to meet their own family and personal needs. Productivity can be a concern for all managers in the area of flextime, and another challenge is the fairness to other workers when one person is offered a flexible schedule.

Many companies, however, are going a step further and creating virtual organizations, which don’t have a physical location (cost containment) and allow all employees to work from home or the location of their choice. As you can imagine, this creates concerns over productivity and communication within the organization. The use of smartphones and social networking has impacted human resources, as many companies now disseminate information to employees via these methods. Of course, technology changes constantly, so the methods used today will likely be different one year or even six months from now. Of course, the major challenge with technology is its constantly changing nature, which can impact all practices in HRM.

Cyber loafing, a term used to describe lost productivity as a result of an employee using a work computer for personal reasons, is another concern created by technology. Restricting or blocking access to the Internet, however, can result in angry employees and impact motivation at work. Technology can create additional stress for workers. Increased job demands, constant change, constant e-mailing and texting, and the physical aspects of sitting in front of a computer can be not only stressful but also physically harmful to employees.

3. The Economy
Tough economic times in a country usually results in tough times for business, too. High unemployment and layoffs are clearly HRM and managerial issues. If a human resource manager works for a unionized company, union contracts are the guiding source when having to downsize owing to a tough economy. Besides union restrictions, legal restrictions on who is let go and the process followed to let someone go should be on the forefront of any manager’s mind when he or she is required to lay off people because of a poor economy. Dealing with performance issues and measuring performance can be considerations when it is necessary to lay off employees. Likewise, in a growth economy, the HR manager may experience a different kind of stress. Massive hiring to meet demand might occur if the economy is doing well.

4. The Changing and Diverse Workforce
Human resource managers should be aware that the workforce is constantly changing. A multigenerational workforce including the baby boomers and the Y generation workforce, retiring workers etc. Each segment of employees has different needs, wants, and goals.

The challenge of multigenerational workforce. Employees between the ages of seventeen and sixty-eight have different values and different expectations of their jobs. Any manager who tries to manage these workers from varying generations will likely have some challenges.

5. Demographic change: This also poses the challenge of talent loss as the older generation of workers retire without adequate documentation of knowledge and work experience upon which the upcoming new generation workers can glean from. Succession planning become crucial for HRM.

6. Change in work life pattern: Work life pattern has changed: Before now, it was easy to give orders on what to be done and control employee work process because most tasks required the use of hands. For example, you could keep part for assembling and instruct an employee on what to do. Today’s work pattern requires more engagement of Employees’ initiative, creativity and a smart thinking process than just his hands. Thus, the increasing demand on HRM to empower, train, and update employees to enhance their capabilities on continuous basis.

7. Globalization: Global trends, global markets where a company can do business at one part of the globe yet has customers in any part of the world, places an increasing need for HRM to consider a multicultural workforce. An Indian can be employed in a Nigerian firm because the company has extended its services to that part of the world.

8. Web 2.0: Web 2.0 refers to websites that emphasize user-generated content, ease of use, participatory culture and interoperability for end-users. As the second generation internet replaced the first generation static web pages to dynamic or user-friendly content, web collaboration becomes possible where individuals and companies become publishers and recipients. The impact of web-based collaboration and social media tools can be seen in security concerns (viruses and worms), negative impact on productivity, loss of confidential data, and potential reputation damage if tools are used inappropriately by employees.

9. Flextime: It is an arrangement of a flexible work schedule that allows workers to choose when their workday starts and ends as long as they achieve the daily, weekly and hours set by the employer. The traditional Monday through Friday, 8.30am to 5pm is altered to provide employees with more freedom and flexibility in making their own work schedule so long as the agreed productivity level is attained by the employee.

With all the interesting benefits of flextime, its downside poses a challenge to HRM in that employees whose work targets are not strictly set may be tempted to do less. This can lead to service gaps and customer dissatisfaction. Synergized communication can become a concern too. All the same, employers are not under any obligation to implement flextime.

10. Artificial Intelligence (AI): The emergence of AI in diverse labor sectors around the world will become another concern for HRM in the future where robots and humans will have to interface at work. The question to ponder upon is “will robots take over the entire or most important aspect of human labor? Will the concept of Human Resource Management become Integrated Labor Capital Management (ILCM)?’’. The future shall tell.

Share This Post

Related Articles

© 2024 Human Resource Management. All rights reserved. Site Admin · Entries RSS · Comments RSS
Powered by HRM Practice · Designed by HRM Practice