HR teams tackle diverse challenges every day, from simple admin to individual performance and management to complex data-related strategic and market issues. Here are five examples.
Work-life balance is a big issue for employees. Talented people demand flexible terms and choices, and they vote with their feet if employers don’t offer them. Ambitious employers need to cultivate trust and flexibility – allowing home working, flexible hours and a range of rewards and benefits to attract the best people. Good technology, processes and communication underpin these freedoms, so teams can be productive and collaborative, wherever and whenever they’re working.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a high-profile workforce concern. Staff worry that automation will put them out of a job. In fact, research suggests that AI will create almost as many jobs as it replaces. The challenge for employers and employees is retraining and investing in skills development so people can adapt to a more automated workplace. AI will change the way people work across every industry in the next few years: HR teams themselves are making use of process automation and systems to take over routine admin and offer workers self-service access to common requests and functions. Automation doesn’t replace HR professionals – it means they can concentrate on higher-value strategic activities and planning.
Analytics and People Science are changing the way HR teams work, increasing their contribution at board level. Data about who employees are, how they work and what they like and don’t like means companies can tailor their employment offers and working culture to attract the people they most want. People data helps employers to maintain their brand and reputation and plan ahead to meet market changes. Sophisticated systems can report on performance and model future changes, combining HR data with wider business information to produce People insight that affects business goals and plans.
Pay and benefits – including salaries and bonuses – are still very important to most workers. HR teams need to operate within company budgets to set salaries and make sure there are fair systems in place for reviewing and increasing pay. Bonuses and rewards need to be administered fairly, with managers using a clear and consistent set of criteria to decide which employees will receive them. HR professionals benchmark salary packages against the market to make sure they are offering competitive remuneration, so they can attract the best people without unacceptably eroding profits.
Administration is a big part of the HR workload today. Many HR teams spend a lot of time entering, reviewing or checking data about employees. People data is confidential and can be sensitive, so companies need to have robust processes in place and good data security measures to protect employees and comply with the law. HR systems can help reduce this workload using self-service (where employees can view and update their own information) and process automation, to ensure data is captured and held securely and complies with legal demands like GDPR.
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