There’s little doubt that amid the rapidly shifting HR landscape, organizations are facing significant challenges as they strive to attract and retain top talent. However, it can be difficult to know just which challenges to prioritize – meaning many HR professionals face tough decisions in terms of where to direct their efforts.
However, according to international HR consulting firm Randstad, there are five overarching challenges facing companies in 2018 – challenges which account for many of the underlying hurdles faced by HR. How many of these look familiar to you?
Challenge 1: Employees want more feedback
In general, there’s currently a large shift away from the traditional employee feedback, incentive and promotion cycle – with quarterly or annual reviews – and towards one of perpetual employer-employee dialogue.
Deloitte, in particular, has dubbed this “continuous performance management,” where employees and leadership are in constant, productive conversation, with the end goal of solving company problems as quickly as they arise, and providing employees with constant recommendations for self-improvement.
While it can be a significant challenge for organizations to adapt to a much more agile, responsive feedback cycle, research has found that 90% of companies who have redesigned their feedback models see direct improvements in employee engagement, while 96% see simpler company processes and 83% report improved conversations with employees.
Challenge 2: HR is going all digital, all the time
In order to be competitive in the talent marketplace, HR teams have to meet the needs of their target recruits – and that means going fully digital. But more than merely supporting digital hiring practices, HR departments need to look to adopt a full suite of digital tools that can ease and improve the employee experience.
As Randstad notes, organizations must set themselves apart from their competitors, who, to be sure, seek to offer the same kinds of digital experiences. A prime example of how such tools should function – by easing friction for employees while enhancing their experience – can be found in virtual care, which enables employees to get instant access to trusted health professionals and health services.
Challenge 3: Multiple generations and multiple viewpoints
With Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z together in same workplace, HR leaders have an urgent need to understand the disparate viewpoints and values of each – as well as build programs that successfully meet their needs.
In order to do so, organizations will have to nix once-popular one-size-fits-all total rewards options, in favor of programs that can flexibly accommodate changing needs.
According to Randstad, each generation values different benefits:
Baby Boomers: Retirement perks and benefits, flexible work situations to reduce hours
Gen X: Career advancement, salary and retirement plans
Millennials: Paid time off, general flexibility of work experience
Gen Z: Overall quality of benefits and job stability
One strategy many organizations are using to provide increased flexibility is to provide employees with Lifestyle Spending Accounts, which enable them to use benefits dollars on the things that matter to them.
Challenge 4: Creating a strong company culture
This is a perennial concern for HR leaders, but as the competition for top talent continues to heat up the urgency to build an outstanding company culture only grows. Indeed, as Randstad research found, culture remains one of the top-rated attractions for job seekers, and also includes, under the umbrella of culture, considerations like job stability, a pleasant workplace atmosphere, and a healthy work-life balance.
Critically, organizations need to align their stated values and goals with the realities of their workplace, or else workers will simply move to more attractive companies. Offering employees in-office perks like fitness classes, financial planning sessions, and nutrition seminars can go a long way towards showing employees that your commitment to a great company culture is tangible.
Challenge 5: A growing focus on employee wellness
As Randstad notes, not only is employee wellness increasingly considered an attractive benefit for potential recruits, but it’s also a way for organizations to tangibly improve employee engagement, performance, and retention, while also lowering overall workplace stress – and thereby improving company culture.
While organizations will face significant challenges as they adapt to the flexible, digital nature of modern HR, there are proven strategies for overcoming them and achieving their goals. The more aggressively – and quickly – that companies face these five challenges, the better prepared they will be to thrive in the changing landscape of work.