A staggering 68.9 million people in the U.S. quit or got discharged/laid off from their jobs in 2021. Of these separations, 47.4 million, or nearly two-thirds, were voluntary quits.
All those are record numbers, triggering what we now call “The Great Resignation.”
A 2022 Pew Study looked into some of the most common reasons workers bid their old jobs goodbye.
More than six in 10 said low pay or no advancement opportunities was the driver. More than half said it was because they experienced disrespect at work.
Such massive resignation rates are causing HR issues to pile up. However, there are many other challenges that today’s human resource departments face.
So what exactly are these pervasive HR problems, and what’s behind them? Is there even anything that HR professionals can do to address them?
This guide details and discusses the top answers to those questions, so read on.
- 1 Attracting Job Seekers
- 2 Filling Vacancies With The Right People
- 3 Acquiring Talents From High-Demand Sectors
- 4 Onboarding New Hires
- 5 Retaining Talent
- 6 Achieving Corporate Sustainability And Eco-Friendliness
- 7 Addressing Skills Gaps And Issues
- 8 Improving The Experience Of Existing Employees
- 9 Resolving Workplace Disputes
- 10 Providing A Healthy Working Environment
- 11 Managing HR Issues Boosts Organizational Growth
Attracting Job Seekers
In a June 2021 poll of 463 U.S. adults, 13.8% of participants said they turned down a job offer due to childcare obligations.
Another 13% cited COVID-19-related reasons, while 11% said it was due to the job not allowing remote work. For more than one in 10, the reason involved training or education.
Giving employees the chance to work remotely can address most of those problems. Providing flexible hours is another ideal solution.
For instance, in the case of parents or guardians, remote work allows them to stay at home to take care of the kids. Likewise, they can better attend to their childcare obligations by working flexible hours.
Remote work can also ease the COVID-19 worries of job seekers, as it lets them work at home, where it may be safer.
It also benefits companies since fewer people packed in one place can reduce the spread of the virus.
In the case of training, HR professionals can look into sponsoring training programs. One reason it can help is that many employees regard such initiatives as a way to improve their craft.
Thus, they’re likely to feel more inclined to join a company prioritizing education.
Filling Vacancies With The Right People
Another of the leading HR challenges managers face today is talent acquisition. In many cases, this problem arises from difficulties in attracting job applicants.
So when job seekers finally apply, an HR team may be too quick to hire them, even if they don’t meet all qualifications.
Unfortunately, such hasty decisions can give rise to more problems, including I-9 penalties. For one, employers who fail to verify employment eligibility may face legal issues.
You can learn more here if you want an in-depth look at the severe consequences of breaking the Federal I-9 law.
That can also help keep an organization safe and secure from imposters.
Acquiring Talents From High-Demand Sectors
Many HR managers face problems hiring talents from high-demand fields, including information technology.
One reason is that the demand for IT pros outpaces the supply. The problem is so severe that experts say the world may reach a shortage of 4.3 million tech workers come 2030.
If that comes to pass, it could result in more than $8 trillion in lost revenue annually.
Another sector experiencing problems with acquisition is transportation. Their aging workforce, in turn, is one of the main reasons they must employ more people.
In the trucking industry alone, experts say there’s a need for at least 80,000 more drivers this 2022 and 160,000 by 2030.
That’s where sponsored training and education can once again come into play.
For instance, let’s say an HR team needs to hire a software developer now but plans to hire a software engineer soon.
HR may consider offering a job seeker qualified for the former a future role in the latter. They can do so by sponsoring the applicant’s training in software engineering.
Onboarding New Hires
Onboarding is a process in which organizations integrate their new hires. It includes activities like the new-hire orientation process and employee introductions.
New hires also learn about the organization’s culture, mission, vision, and values.
Unfortunately, many HR professionals conduct an onboarding process that isn’t engaging enough. For example, in some companies, it involves handing new hires forms and paperwork to read.
An HR manager then gives the new employees quick introductions and tours of the premises.
The problem is that onboarding should have a more congratulatory vibe to it. After all, both sides have been successful; a new hire has landed a job, and the company has filled a vacancy.
Thus, the process must be welcoming to make new hires feel they made the right choice.
If done correctly, the onboarding process helps lay the foundation for employee retention. For instance, new hires who feel welcome are more likely to be productive and loyal.
They also have a higher likelihood of feeling engaged in the workplace.
As per the most recent BLS report, the median tenure of workers in January 2020 was 4.1 years.
Among male employees, 29% have been with their current employer for at least ten years. In women, this drops to 27%.
The BLS also found that employee tenure was usually higher among older workers. For instance, among workers aged 55 to 64, the median tenure was 9.9 years.
That then decreases to a whopping 2.8 years among workers aged 25 to 34.
So, it’s no wonder some refer to younger workforce members as “job hoppers.”
One such benefit is that job hopping reveals what an organization lacks.
Companies, in turn, can use that as an opportunity to improve so they can hold on to their future talents longer.
Some may find the term derogatory, but it’s taking on a more positive note now, as studies show its benefits.
That’s especially crucial nowadays, with the 2022 turnover expected to rise to 20%.
Moreover, experts say organizations with a 20% turnover rate pre-COVID could see that go up to 24%.
Achieving Corporate Sustainability And Eco-Friendliness
Sustainability is the ability to maintain processes continuously for long periods. Among its many goals is to avert the depletion of resources to keep them available in the long run.
Moreover, it considers the future of not only the planet but also the many generations to come.
On the other hand, eco-friendly is a broader term encompassing sustainability. In general, it means safe or not dangerous to the environment.
Its chief goal is to help mitigate human activities’ harmful effects on the planet.
One way that corporations can achieve both is to reduce their carbon footprint. And they should, considering their carbon footprints are higher than a typical consumer.
For reference, the average person in the U.S. has a carbon footprint of 16 tons, whereas globally, it’s only 4 tons.
The problem is that many businesses still haven’t taken steps to cut their footprints.
One reason is that owners may lack skills and knowledge in tackling the climate crisis. Indeed, that’s the top reason given in a study of climate action among small to medium size businesses.
Almost two in three SMBs said they’re delaying measures because they don’t know what to do.
If the owners lack skills and knowledge, their HR may face the same problem.
The thing is, HR departments usually know more about their organization’s environmental impact. After all, they’re responsible for handling all people-related concerns in the company.
People and their activities, in turn, are drivers of global warming and climate change.
In this case, higher-ups should consider climate change training for their HR staff.
Addressing Skills Gaps And Issues
A skills gap is a mismatch between an employee’s skills and the skills their employer needs from them.
It’s a problem for workers since their bosses want them to perform tasks they can’t effectively do.
It’s also an issue for employers since they expect workers to deliver what they can’t.
That “misunderstanding” can lead to errors or delays on the part of mismatched workers. They may also feel pressured and stressed.
The longer this goes on, the higher their likelihood of quitting.
As for organizations, errors and delays cause lower productivity and reduced bottom lines. They may even result in client loss, which hurts profits.
Therefore, HR professionals must always be on their toes for skills gaps. For example, they can start by developing a role-based skills assessment program.
They can then use the results to identify the skills their employees possess.
HR managers can also use the test to determine which workers have the potential for other roles. Likewise, the assessment’s results can help them confirm which skills their people lack.
From there, they can schedule employees for education or re-training.
Improving The Experience Of Existing Employees
A recent survey found that almost one in three employees have plans to quit their jobs.
Indeed, one in four participants said they already did within the last six months from the time of the poll.
The number one reason cited was toxic company culture. Low pay and poor management were also among the most common causes.
Those findings suggest that today’s workers don’t just care about high salaries. Instead, many now prioritize working in a place with an incredible culture.
And while a good-paying job is still crucial, so is having a caring, compassionate boss.
Therefore, HR departments must always be aware of what’s happening on the floor. For instance, they should conduct routine employee-manager assessments.
That can help them pinpoint “bad blood” between their people and promptly take steps to fix it.
HR professionals should also learn what exactly their workforce desires. They can do this by conducting regular employee benefits surveys.
These questionnaires can help HR improve the perks their organization provides to workers.
Resolving Workplace Disputes
Workplace conflicts cost economies millions, even billions, each year. For instance., a recent study suggested that such disputes cost the U.K. economy £28.5 billion annually.
That translates to an average economic burden of £1,000 per employee.
Workplace conflicts are so common that even virtual workers experience them. For example, a 2021 report revealed that eight in 10 remote workers had a dispute with a co-employee.
Either way, workplace disagreements are harmful because they cause tension and stress. They also place a mental toll on those not involved.
After all, no one likes to be in an environment that can trigger abuse or violence.
Workplace conflicts also affect the bottom line because they waste time. Likewise, they lead to productivity losses, lawsuits, and higher employee turnover.
Since workplace disagreements are inevitable, it’s no wonder they’re a top HR issue. However, it’s also HR’s responsibility to step in and help resolve or fix them.
If they can’t, employees will quit, respect will disappear, and morale will drop.
Providing A Healthy Working Environment
In the U.S., the Occupational Safety and Health Administration governs workplace safety. It penalizes employers committing non-willful violations with a maximum fine of $13,653.
It raises that to $136,532 for every repeated safety violation that puts workers in harm’s way.
Aside from hefty penalties, violators may also face numerous complaints or lawsuits. Their reputation may also suffer if word gets out they have unsafe premises.
The backlash can be severe enough for them to lose so many clients that they go bankrupt and close.
However, workplace safety isn’t only about physical dangers but also psychological hazards. For example, workplace disputes, as mentioned above, can cause a mental toll on workers.
Likewise, long work hours, heavy workloads, and skills gaps can lead to severe work stress.
HR departments, in turn, have a role to play since they’re who workers turn to for a problem. For instance, they can foster ease of communication regarding safety or security risks. They must make workers feel comfortable, not scared, voicing their concerns.
At the same time, HR managers should listen to what workers tell them.
Also, if an employee wants anonymity, then they should respect that. If they don’t, they risk breaking the worker’s trust, leading to disengagement.
Managing HR Issues Boosts Organizational Growth
As you can see, many HR issues exist, from finding job seekers to maintaining a healthy workplace. The bottom line is that, despite being so common, most HR problems are resolvable.
Remote work, training, and better benefits are just some of what they can do to address such woes.
By promptly addressing these concerns, HR departments can help organizations and workers grow.