HR is one of the most stressful jobs out there. The constant demands, the juggling of tasks, requests for help, hiring needs, retention problems... the list goes on and on. HR leaders are especially vulnerable to stress, and we kept hearing about great HR professionals that needed support. They needed people to reach out to that relate to the challenges of the HR world.
That's why we created the HR Brain Trusts events. This article will walk you through some common challenges HR leaders are facing right now and some solutions we came up with to address them.
5 Prevalent HR Challenges + Solutions
At our HR Brain Trusts, we throw topics up on a virtual whiteboard and encourage attendees to add a thumbs-up sticker to the challenges that they are facing. Here's what we came up with this July:
We hand-picked 5 of these challenges to discuss. Here are the 5 solutions to common HR and workplace challenges that we came up with during our Brain Trust event this July.
Curious what the discussion was like? Check out this video clip from one of the Brain Trust break out rooms.
Related: What to Expect at an HR Brain Trust
1. How to reduce turnover without significantly increasing wages
87% of HR experts say that employee retention is a top priority. Since the pandemic, employee retention issues have skyrocketed, along with employee burnout and work-from-home challenges. Companies are losing employees to employers that offer work-from-home options and more flexibility.
HR leaders are suggesting that companies find strategic ways to build employee connections. Lack of "water cooler" chats and in-person collaboration makes building those coworker connections very difficult. To tackle turnover without increasing costs, create spaces where employees can interact in new ways. One HR leader said that their company started pairing people across departments to share their personal goals and hold each other accountable.
HR leaders can also make a point to truly listen to their employees and what they need. Analyze why people have left in the past. Send out a survey asking them about their mental health and connections with coworkers. How engaged are employees? Are they burnt out?
Once you determine what employees need, start delivering them in small increments.
Solutions: Listen to what employees want and need and provide those things. Make it a point to build employee connections. Add an extra employee benefit every quarter.
2. When to bring employees back into the office
A common challenge among companies today is that leadership wants everyone back in the office, but employees want to work from home.
It is best to make sure leadership is communicating and that the decision to come back into the office is a mutual decision. Seek to understand why employees are wanting to work from home. Is it for safety concerns? Do they perform better at home? Do they want to spend more time with their kids?
Then, layout some alternative options. Perhaps your company could consider a hybrid work model. Maybe offering more PTO would help appease their concerns.
Solutions: Listen to your team and determine why they want to work from home. Provide alternative options that meet their needs.
3. High rates of employee burnout
Working at home can lead to some serious work-life balance challenges. Employees are working earlier in the morning and later into the night than they did previously, leading to high rates of employee burnout.
One HR leader mentioned that their company has required "blackout" time, where employees are not allowed to message or email each other. This time can be used for deep work or to take a break. Some companies are having blackout times during the lunch hour three days per week, or on Friday afternoons.
Companies are also offering employee mental health programs to help employees manage their stress and find a healthy work-life balance.
Solutions: Have company blackout policies and provide employees the tools they need to take care of themselves.
4. How to make flexible work fair across the organization
Some companies provide different flexible work options for different departments. To help maintain morale, set policies for each department that outline what the expectations are instead of rolling them out on an individual basis.
For instance, finance employees can work from home up to 2 days per week.
Also, HR leaders stress the importance of having a boot camp for managers to teach them the company's flex policies. Teach managers how to make a call for specific employee situations. Prepare them for confrontation and conflict in these situations.
Solutions: Set policies for each department that outline what the employee expectations are. Train managers very well on flex policies.
6. Overwhelming HR leader workload
2020 was the most stressful year for the majority of HR leaders—and that stress hasn't gone away. HR leaders are constantly overworked and managing many tasks at once. Executives are demanding more from HR than ever before.
To reduce interruptions, HR should build or update their internal knowledge base where employees can self-serve and find answers to their own questions. Add to the company onboarding process to train new employees where to find answers to their own questions.
Solutions: Build an internal system to direct people to what they need.
Addressing these common HR challenges will help improve company culture, morale, and engagement—improving retention and the bottom line.
Interested in attending our next Brain Trust meeting? You can sign up here.
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