9 Common HR Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Each year, the responsibilities of HR teams grow as the overall corporate landscape and work environment is constantly changing. This […]

Mark Jackson

President at SwagDrop

Each year, the responsibilities of HR teams grow as the overall corporate landscape and work environment is constantly changing. This is happening partly because of advances in technology that are continually evolving. 

That’s why it’s only natural for businesses to want to create a better employee experience, lower employee turnover, and build a healthy work culture. 

It goes without saying that most of the work falls to the human resources department—and their jobs aren’t getting any easier. 

The HR department manages the entire employee lifecycle, from attracting talent to the entire onboarding process. In addition, they have to create an attractive corporate culture and ensure employee engagement. 

This pressure creates challenges for HR managers. Companies have seen these challenges in action during the pandemic, where they had to efficiently manage remote workforces and stay relevant. 

Let’s dive into these 9 common HR issues and see how to tackle them successfully: 

Table of Contents

1. Attracting (and retaining) top talent

2. Respecting inclusivity and diversity

3. Supporting employee mental health and wellbeing

4. Managing and engaging with your remote workforce

5. Onboarding employees

6. Giving fulfilling training opportunities

7. Offering competitive compensation and benefits

8. Managing employee relationships

9. Embracing and keeping up with change

1. Attracting (and retaining) top talent

Attracting and retaining top talent is a persistent challenge for businesses in today’s competitive job market. 

A 2021 Statista report revealed that a significant percentage of employees, over 70%, are open to new job opportunities, indicating the importance for companies to consistently assess and enhance their employee value proposition. 

This report also discovered that employees deemed salary and job security to be the most critical factors contributing to job satisfaction. 

Furthermore, nearly 33.1% of employees are actively looking for a job, which means that staff are spending less time at a company. Employees leaving for another company means a costly recruitment process, as well as low morale. 

How to tackle this

To overcome the challenge of retaining and attracting talent, companies should focus on:

  • Offering competitive salaries 
  • Providing job security
  • Promoting a healthy work-life balance for their employees 

Offering opportunities for growth and development, and fostering a positive corporate culture can also play a significant role in talent acquisition.
This can be achieved through various initiatives such as regular team-building activities, clear communication, and offering professional development opportunities. 

According to research conducted by Ciphr, a staggering 67% of individuals believe that having a balanced work-life is more crucial than their salary, so offering flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options, can also play a key role in keeping the best team members around. 

Additionally, offering competitive compensation and benefits packages, such as health insurance and paid time off, can also help attract and retain employees. 

2. Respecting inclusivity and diversity

Thanks to globalization and remote work, companies can hire workers and find talent all over the world—which means more unique perspectives and cultural diversity. 

However, diversity comes with its challenges.  

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are a must in healthy company cultures. In fact, 76% of employees say that diversity is a factor they take into consideration when evaluating a potential workplace. 

Having a diverse workforce means that you are employing individuals with unique perspectives and backgrounds. Equity means equal opportunities for all employees. Inclusion refers to addressing the needs of employees with different cultures, ages, genders, nationalities, and ethnicities. 

When companies struggle with DEI, it can impact the brand’s image.

How to tackle this

It is hard to tackle DEI challenges, but it’s important to sensitize all workers to the culture of the unique people they work with. You can start by evaluating the state of DEI in your organizational culture—and take the necessary steps to correct it. 

Set clear goals and promote a work environment that respects and understands different cultures. It’s crucial to communicate the importance of having a diverse workforce and create a workspace that is welcoming and free of conflict. 

Author’s Tip: Team building activities are an effective way to integrate employees with different cultures. 

3. Supporting employee mental health and wellbeing

Supporting employee mental health is considered the biggest challenge by many HR professionals. Business leaders should care about employee wellness not only because of labor laws, but also because poor emotional and physical health can affect the company’s performance. 

In other words, high demands, burnout, frustration, and tight deadlines can seriously impact the wellbeing of employees. 

For example, a Deloitte survey found that almost 60% of employees reported experiencing burnout due to high levels of stress. While periods of stress are normal and some people work well under pressure, it can’t be sustained in the long term. 

This highlights the urgency for companies to create a positive work environment that prioritizes employee wellbeing in order to retain top talent and maintain a productive workforce.

How to tackle this

Boosting your employees’ health should be your top priority. With an effective health and wellness program, you can: 

  • Ensure employees use available PTO
  • Offer flexible hours and remote work to make it easier for employees to balance their workload with daily life
  • Encourage onsite employees to take small breaks during the day or provide healthy snacks
  • Give employees a space to talk to each other and be socially active 
  • Encourage mindfulness or provide fun exercise opportunities
  • Have an open policy where workers can discuss anxieties and other workplace issues. 

4. Managing and engaging with your remote workforce

The pandemic has introduced a new concept into the business world: remote work. And it’s here to stay. 

Embracing remote work is a norm in many companies, with 35% of organizations having half of their employees working remotely. 

However, many business leaders still struggle to maintain a productive work environment. The lack of face-to-face interaction often leads to misunderstandings and a disconnect between the organization and its culture. 

Many employees also don’t go through effective training programs, which can lead to dissatisfaction.  

How to tackle this

To solve this, the management should schedule regular check-ins and use multiple channels for communication, such as instant messaging, phone or video calls, or emails. 

Open communication is key to keeping employees engaged, avoiding efficiency loss, and monitoring your team’s productivity. Try to encourage employees to communicate socially by providing them with the right tools. 

You can also develop a remote work policy to help employees and potential new hires understand what’s expected of them.

For example, respecting each member’s schedule is a key remote work policy. It’s easy to bombard someone with messages, emails, or calls when working virtually, but it’s vital to find a balance between the two and understand that not everyone works the same.  

5. Onboarding employees 

The hiring process is a lengthy and tiresome endeavor that can feel like a wasted effort when the new employee ends up quitting after a few months. But HR’s job doesn’t end once the new hire officially becomes a new employee. 

In fact, you need to make a good impression in the first few weeks and months to ensure employee satisfaction. 


Because good onboarding programs can boost a new employee’s performance by 11%

To attract talent and ensure low turnover rates, organizations need to build an engaged workforce. 

How to tackle this

Onboarding plays a big role in building employee engagement and invoking a sense of loyalty. It also helps with long-term retention rates. 

Personalization can go a long way in boosting employee morale. Try to think of the new hire as an individual with unique needs, not just another person filling the job role. 

Create a welcoming environment that helps new hires familiarize themselves with the company culture, goals, processes, and co-workers. Host meetups or use mentoring as a way to foster collaboration. 

One more important solution is to use company merchandise to create a welcome kit—and make employees feel like part of the team.

6. Giving fulfilling training opportunities

Gartner predicts that the number of skill sets required for a job increases by 10% each year. This means that human resources professionals need to identify skill gaps and help workers develop a strong culture focused on growth and learning. 

If a business fails to train new hires effectively or has low-quality training programs, 40% of employees will choose to leave the job within the first year. Furthermore, if the initial training is not engaging, workers will struggle to understand and perform their responsibilities. 

How to tackle this

Any company can reach effective talent management and help employees grow their knowledge base. Some might offer an allocated budget for each employee to spend on online courses or use modern learning software for personalized training. 

Another rising trend in the business world is upskilling (or improving current skill sets) to assume different roles. Upskilling helps companies meet evolving needs while keeping workers engaged.  

Be sure to have clear goals and encourage new hires to provide regular feedback. This way, you ensure they are performing their tasks effectively and improving their experience. 

7. Offering competitive compensation and benefits

A sure way to attract top talent and maintain a high employee retention rate is by offering good compensation and a benefits package. Due to the recent economic instability, compensation has become a big incentive for many workers. 

Compensation and benefits packages have the power to keep employees happy, motivated, and satisfied with their roles. 

However, it may be harder for smaller or medium-sized companies to keep up with the compensation offered by big corporations. Furthermore, increasing costs of training, benefits, and taxes can be hard to manage. 

How to tackle this

In the absence of salary increases, the HR management needs to find other ways to motivate employees. Companies may want to accommodate flexibility, offer more development opportunities, or add extra vacation days. 

You can also create a reward and recognition program that acknowledges an employee’s hard work. It serves as a good motivation to perform. Other business leaders also focus more on closing the gap between workers of different gender or race. 

8. Managing employee relationships

A united team is what will make the company successful. If the team is in a constantly negative environment, then employees will underperform. 

Sometimes, the lack of leadership development can result in employer-employee conflicts. As a result, employees leave due to poor relationships with the manager and disagreements in the workspace. 

Furthermore, with the increasing frequency of hybrid and remote working, managers might not understand their role and need the HR department to alleviate the pressure on them. 

All of these pressures can become significant HR challenges that could affect the company’s objectives. 

How to tackle this

HR should play a supportive role in incentivizing managers to build a connection with their employees. They can engage in active listening and solicit feedback from the team.

Managers can also build trust with co-workers by providing guidance on issues such as career paths. This way, employees will feel that the manager is engaged and will be more open to communicating ideas or worries. 

9. Embracing and keeping up with change 

One thing’s for sure—the HR landscape will continue to change. With uncertainty being the theme of 2023, there’s a lot of worry about the world’s economy. High inflation, layoffs, and increased use of automation can build a sense of fear among employees. 

Many companies struggle to embrace change and stay rooted in manual and almost obsolete processes. By doing this, these organizations won’t be able to keep up with change.

This might also happen because HR departments are unsure how to measure its effectiveness or how to divide resources effectively. 

How to tackle this

We cannot stop change, so it’s vital for HR leaders to embrace it in order to survive the oncoming challenges. Now more than ever, business leaders need to demonstrate transparency and communicate relevant information to employees. 

It’s also important for managers to help employees see their value and find ways to contribute to the business’s success. This will reassure workers and encourage them to communicate more. 

To measure the effectiveness of the HR department, you need to establish relevant metrics such as quality of hire and cost of hire. However, first you need to identify goals before you start measuring. 

The key items to measure might include: 

  • Are you using the most effective channels to recruit?
  • What are your costs-per-hire?
  • How effective are the different types of training?
  • What are your employee churn rates?
  • How satisfied are your employees? 
  • How engaged are your employees with their work?

Final Thoughts

Overcoming HR’s biggest challenges is more important than ever. The good news is that most of these hurdles are surmountable and you can lay the foundation for your company’s success. 

To stay up to date with key terms, visit our HR glossary

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