The 2020s have been…challenging for HR professionals so far, to say the least. As HR challenges continue to grow, let’s take a step back and rise above them so we can bring some of those Roaring 20s vibes into the 21st Century.
1. High Employee Expectations
U.S. Labor Market Trends indicate that employers, especially those with mostly blue-collar and/or service workers, are struggling to retain employees. In fact, the number of workers who quit their job in April of 2021 broke an all-time record.
The “Great Resignation” continues on. And since this erosion of employer power was spotted by Economists in the 2000s and 2010s during low unemployment years, expect it to continue picking up speed. Employee needs have changed; companies need to adapt if they want to keep their workforce intact.
Here are some tips to keep employees happy and engaged:
Enhance Your Benefits Offering
With healthcare premiums on the rise yet again, your business isn’t the only one with a hurt wallet. Try offering a pre-tax health account or two alongside your plan(s) to help employees offset the costs of their family’s medical costs.
Don’t stop there. In this labor market, it’s not enough to have a solid healthcare plan. Make your healthcare plan even more attractive by ensuring your benefits offering addresses other growing needs, such as:
- The growing cost of child care
- Workplace commuting expenses
- Wellness/mental health
- The unique needs of remote workers
Support Your Workers
Why do employees leave jobs voluntarily? Well… there are a lot of reasons. But here are two related HR challenges you may be able to control.
- Bad management. This is perhaps one of the most common reasons a disgruntled employee will cite. Take steps to ensure this doesn’t happen by providing extensive management training to all levels of management: supervisors, mid-level managers, and the c-level management team. Additionally, know how to manage workplace conflict when it comes up. See this Forbes article for tips.
- Burnout. Learn how to recognize the signs of burnout and provide relief to employees experiencing it.
2. Strained Internal Resources
Is your HR department feeling your own strain from the Great Resignation? Or, are you feeling overwhelmed with the additional HR-related questions you have to answer?
- Workforce planning. Are you going to try to bring people back to the office? If so, when? Or, will you try a different approach, such as hybrid or remote?
- Addressing COVID-19 vaccine concerns. How will your organization comply with a vaccine mandate for federal employees? And if you’re not required to abide by this, do you instill your own mandate? Additionally, how do you keep your employees safe, happy, and healthy without causing people to quit if your decision leans one way or the other?
- The legislative changes keep on coming. Are you up to date on the latest ones? Do you know how your company will address these changes?
If you feel overwhelmed, you’re not alone. According to a recent Paychex Pulse of HR Report, 78% of HR decision-makers say that this past year has been one of the most challenging in their careers.
It can help to outsource some of your HR duties to outside parties. Find a trusted third-party administrator who not only handles administering your benefits but keeps you up-to-date on the latest in industry and legislative news. Use this article to help you find one.
3. Communication problems
Communication has been one of the top HR challenges for decades. That’s because effective communication is easier said than done.
Typically, there are 4 types of communication challenges employers face:
- Things are getting lost. It might be a case of information overload where there is too much coming at once, but the timing of communications and relevancy may also play a factor.
- Communications aren’t being received. Similar to being overlooked, some communications are just not being received. Email is the most common method used to communicate, but with email programs and spam filters getting smarter all the time, it is harder to hit the inbox. This leads to the next challenge.
- Employees receive communications in different ways. This is the idea that you may need to reach employees through a variety of channels in order to really reach them.
- Employees don’t understand their benefits and options. And if they don’t understand their options, they probably won’t enroll in them.
So, what can you do to solve this HR challenge?
Ideas to Improve Communication
- Use a decision support tool. Decision support or benefits selection tools can be a pivotal engagement tool. When effectively leveraged, they promote proactive engagement, encourage personal interaction and benefits selection, and can raise the awareness of benefits an employee may otherwise overlook.
- Create a communication calendar. Send out communications throughout the year to promote your benefits outside of Open Enrollment. Take a look at our Sample Marketing & Communication Plan for assistance.
- Use smaller, more frequent communications. Focus on a singular topic for each one. For assistance, use the materials in our Resource Center.
- Think digital first. Videos are great at engaging people and helping them absorb information better. Check out some of ours here.
- Encourage participation with gifts, drawings, and games. Options you likely already have available to you include web conferencing tools, online forms, and email senders. Also, investigate other tools like Kahoot, Aha, Quizizz, and SurveyMonkey.
- Leverage internal champions/influencers. A recommendation from a trusted source will do more to get people to pay attention.
What are your HR challenges?
Share them with us in the comments.