Identifying Workplace Issues of Modern HR Professionals
The modern-day HR professional has a variety of issues to deal with every day. Since, in many ways, it’s their job to keep their company running smoothly, we’ve collected a short list of common issues in HR that could help do just that. The following three trends have become increasingly significant in the HR world, and will continue to be moving forward.
1. Multigenerational Offices and Cultural Shifts
When a new generation enters the workforce, there’s an understandable learning curve that takes place. The way work’s always been done inevitably changes to encompass the different workstyles and cultural outlooks of younger employees. However, these new mindsets and approaches are often in direct competition with the ones that were there before.
For example, millennials notoriously utilize nontraditional working environments, tactics and hours—often completing tasks after work hours from home or a coffee shop. On the other hand, Baby Boomers find it important to work long hours in the office to get ahead.1 In fact, most offices, at any given time, will have multiple overlapping generations within their workforce.2
So, how do companies and human resources (HR) professionals handle these varying mindsets and cultural preferences?
The short answer to this is that companies need to be nimble. They need to allow these varying work styles to both coexists and thrive. One way to do this is to establish a culture of understanding among the workforce—acknowledging that there are differing work views and that the company can accommodate all of them. For HR professionals, the ability to clearly communicate is key, as they are the ones who will need to work out and negotiate situations with employees across multiple generational and cultural backgrounds.
2. Evolving Technology
Technology moves at a pace defined by innovation. And since innovation is in its prime in the 21st century, the hard truth for professionals is that the momentum of technology is unstoppable and, for many, unreachable. Systems that were used two years ago may no longer be relevant in the here and now, and new software seems to be released daily.
But what does this expedited evolution of technology mean for HR?
First, it means that HR professionals will need to stay up to date with the tools affecting their jobs and companies at a more frequent pace. They will also need to become familiar with the new technologies used by the company’s employees, for hiring and other personnel reasons.3
Second, new technology means new practices, rules and regulations to stay on top of, comprehend and roll out company-wide. For example, instant messaging has become a norm within offices, which means new rules about appropriate behavior within that new space need to be clearly defined.4 The same is true for when the internet and social media became ubiquitous. HR professionals needed to shift their mindsets to figure out the new “appropriate” for these evolving technologies and means of communicating at work.
Though it can nearly be defined by its name alone, short-termism is a concept normally used when talking about the financial world’s focus on profits in the now instead of in the long run. However, it’s generally used to mean the sacrifice of long-term stability in favor of short-term gains. This definition feels especially relevant when talking about today’s workforce.
The growing instability of employee retention rates has become a massive problem. How much of a problem? Well, statistics show that 60 percent of millennial employees are open to a new job opportunity.6 Even more startling, however, is the cost of this millennial job turnover, which reportedly costs the American economy 30.5 billion dollars a year.5
Understandably, this poses a problem for companies and HR professionals across the nation. A common point referenced among managers and business owners is the money that’s saved in keeping an employee in comparison to the costs of having to hire a new one.7 Hiring takes valuable company time from many key leaders within an organization.
While HR professionals ultimately can’t stop this trend of short-termism, it’s important that they recognize it as real and establish plans to help promote and provide a healthy, high-functioning work environment. Things you can do may include accommodating the office-culture preferences of employees, as well as letting them voice their concerns in an honest way—then communicating this to the company’s leadership.
A professional’s reasons for leaving a job is their own business, yet if you want to hang on to the talent in your office, it’s probably worth it to figure out a strategy on how to keep them happy.
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1. Kane, S. (February 2017). Baby Boomers in the Workplace. Retrieved on May 19, 2017, from thebalance.com/baby-boomers-2164681
2. Bennett, M. (February 2017). A Formal Introduction to the Five Generations of Employees in Your Workforce. Retrieved on May 25, 2017, from navexglobal.com/blog/formal-introduction-five-generations-employees-your-workforce
3. Schramm, J. (March 2016). The Big Issues Facing HR. Retrieved on May 19, 2017, from shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/0316/pages/the-big-issues-facing-hr.aspx
4. Oluoch, A. (January 2015). The Effect of Instant Messaging In The Workplace. Retrieved on May 25, 2017, from careeraddict.com/the-effect-of-instant-messaging-in-the-workplace
5. Retrieved on May 19, 2017, from lexicon.ft.com/Term?term=short_termism
6. Adkins, A. (May 2016). Millennials: The Job-Hopping Generation. Retrieved on May 19, 2017, from gallup.com/businessjournal/191459/millennials-job-hopping-generation.aspx
7. Lucas, S. (August 2013). How Much Employee Turnover Really Costs You. Retrieved on May 25, 2017, from inc.com/suzanne-lucas/why-employee-turnover-is-so-costly.html