Human Resource Challenges for 2013Want to make a big impact on your company–and your career–in 2013? Then it’s time to put your human resources to the test. It’s time to challenge your organization to do more, do it better, and really make the most of your human resources function. Are you ready?

Here are 30 HR challenges for you. Below the list, you will find some instructions to help you use the information to the fullest extent. Now it’s up to you to put these ideas into action. Let’s get started!

30 HR Challenges–Which Ones Will You Choose?

1. Create better supervisor training. Help your front-line managers become better leaders. Consider these topics:

  • How to improve interviewing skills
  • How to give accurate, honest feedback
  • Why documentation is essential
  • Managing terminations
  • Harassment, discrimination, and other potential lawsuits
  • Safety and security in the workplace
  • How to effectively train adults
  • Coaching and mentoring employees
  • Building and managing teams
  • Developing and pursuing goals

2. Develop an HR portal. Save time and resources by answering common questions in one place. Here’s a little help to get you started:

3. Implement a low-cost recognition program. Forget cash bonuses, and instead develop a program that provides positive, public recognition when people do the right things. Rewards can be as simple as public praise, a mention in the company newsletter, or an award certificate people can hang in their workspaces.

4. Strengthen your benefits package. Benchmark your benefits against other local firms and leaders in your industry. Are there benefits you’re not offering but should be? Are there any innovative employee benefits you could add to differentiate your firm from the competition?

5. Find out if there’s a need for leadership development. Conduct an assessment of departments and teams to determine who your leaders are, how they are doing, and what you can and should be doing to identify and develop tomorrow’s leaders.

6. Re-evaluate your training programs. What could you do to increase the impact of the training you provide or increase the offerings to your employees?

7. Think about your employment brand. Does your organization send the right message to the labor market? What changes do you need to make to have a stronger, more consistent employment brand?

8. Attend an HR conference. Whether it’s a local event, the national SHRM or HR Tech conference, or even HR webinars, make an investment in your own education and find sources for new ideas you can bring to your firm.

9. Learn more about social media. Facebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. They’re all having a big impact on hiring, managing and retaining employees. If you’re not already an expert, learn how to use these tools as an HR professional.

10. Join a SHRM chapter. Network, become involved, and learn as much as you can from your peers.

11. Write a guest post for an HR blog. Think of one of those crazy HR stories or one of the big “aha!” moments you’ve had as an HR pro. Write it down. Find an HR blog that accepts submissions. Sharing your stories will help attract more candidates to your firm and can get you feedback to improve your HR management.

12. Get certified. Check out for more information.

13. Mentor an entry-level HR pro. Help develop the strength of your internal team, so you can deliver even greater value to your organization.

14. Learn more about business. To be effective in HR, you have to understand the fundamentals of business, accounting, marketing, etc. Learning more about the other aspects of how the business works will make you a more well-rounded HR pro.

15. Review your compensation plans. Are you paying competitive wages? Do you offer rewards for performance? Do you provide positive incentives for star talent?

16. Measure your level of employee engagement. No matter what it looks like, we can all stand to make employee engagement a little better.

17. Implement an employee satisfaction survey. Create a quick poll to gauge how happy your people are with your organization–and more importantly, anything they are unhappy about. Determine which departments or job functions might be trouble spots, and then work with department managers to develop plans for improvement.

18. Identify your high potential employees. Make sure they have a clear career path, and that you are providing them with the challenges and opportunities they seek.

19. Develop a succession plan for your key employees. Why? If one of the employees was hit by the proverbial bus and could not work, how would you keep things going? Is there a plan in place? What if a handful of your senior employees decided to retire at once?

20. Look at your HR analytics and… Wait, you’re not measuring your HR analytics? Then start. Now.

21. Research innovative new HR technology tools. Determine what’s available and which tools would have a positive impact on your business. (Many of them are free!) You might start by looking at the vendors who attend the HR Tech conference.

22. Throw out a policy. Or two. How do you know which ones? If it affects less than 5% of your employee population, it’s a candidate for removal.

23. Think like an entrepreneur. How can you cut costs/increase revenue? Don’t assume it’s “someone else’s job” to think about things like that.

24. Is your new hire orientation and onboarding process up to snuff? Do new hires feel welcomed on their first day? Are expectations clearly set? What could you do to help people get productive faster?

25. Blow up your performance management system (or tweak it, whichever applies). Talk to line managers and employees to see what’s working, and what’s not, with your performance systems.

26. Analyze innovative HR theories. Give some serious consideration to cutting-edge practices like unlimited vacation, ROWE, FedEx Days, etc., and see which make sense for your business.

27. Offer a wellness plan–financial or physical. If you already offer these, develop a plan to improve participation.

28. Check your staff diversity levels. Make sure you are attracting a diverse candidate pool and consciously hiring people who can bring different perspectives to the organization.

29. Institute “Meeting-Free Mondays” (or Wednesdays, or Fridays) and free your staff from the tyranny of meetings for one day a week.

30. Determine which sources of hire provide the best candidates. Maybe it’s employee referrals. Maybe it’s your social media efforts. Whatever the case, focus on getting more people from the source that provides the highest-quality employees.

Now that you’ve read through the 30 human resources challenges, your instructions:

Go ahead, and grab a pen and a notepad. This is an interactive exercise.

Got ’em? Okay, great. Here’s what you need to do. Read through this list again. When you come across an idea that might be interesting or valuable to you, just jot down the number and keep going. Try to pick out at least three items from this list. It’s okay to do more (or less), but with three solid, pertinent options you will be less likely to skip this exercise altogether.

Next, go back through the numbers you wrote down and re-read each HR challenge. Think of what you’d have to do as the very first step to make this activity happen, and write that down next to the number. If the following steps immediately come to you, feel free to get those on paper while they are fresh. Do this for each of the numbers you wrote down. Now your notes should be a little more detailed.

Now for the “hard” part. Take those notes that you have, type them up in an email, and add the paragraph below to the top of the email. Then send that to another HR person that you trust to hold you accountable. They aren’t going to beat you up, but they will gently encourage you to pursue the challenges that you’ve listed for yourself. Some of these are big challenges, and others small, so it really can help to have someone else to do this exercise with. Oh, and feel free to send the link to this article to them so they can choose their own challenges as well.

“Hey! I found this neat list of 30 human resources challenges online, and I am participating in an exercise to help me overcome the challenges that are especially fitting for me. I am reaching out to you to see if you would have a few minutes to respond back and give me some encouragement to face these issues.”

The whole point is for this to be more than just any old article that you read and delete or toss to the side. It’s a chance for you to really make a difference in what you do!

Reprinted with permission. Originally published on the Upstart HR blog with 20 additional challenges!

About the Author: Ben Eubanks is an HR pro from Huntsville, AL. He spends his days as an HR Generalist for Pinnacle Solutions, a small government contractor focusing on the aviation training industry. He spends his nights writing at upstartHR–an HR blog with a little humor, humility, and how-to. When he’s not working or blogging, he’s getting ready for the next HRevolution (an HR conference on steroids) and chasing his twin toddler girls around the yard.

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