Top 4 Challenges Faced by Human Resources Professionals

By Robert Half on September 23, 2015 at 4:30pm

Human resources professionals juggle a wide range of responsibilities, from recruiting to retention and everything in between. However, these four tasks rate tops for difficulty.

It’s rarely a slow day in a typical human resources department. Charged with handling all types of personnel issues, HR teams provide the foundation for a well-staffed and smartly managed company. Finding the right administrative professional requires management savvy. But you have partners along the way.

Here are the top four challenges faced by HR professionals (also see infographic below):

1. Identifying and hiring candidates for open jobs

Thirty-six percent of respondents claimed recruiting and identifying the right job applicant was the biggest challenge. An HR professional needs to be adept at finding and securing the best hires, even when the job market is in the candidates’ favor.

They must be resourceful and know how to locate talent, beyond just placing job ads. At the same time, they need to be an expert at marketing their companies to potential employees, so the most skilled applicants are eager to join their team.

Let Robert Half's expert career professionals help you find the right administrative candidate for your company.

2. Conducting employee terminations or layoffs

Since letting a worker go is usually an emotionally draining process, it's no surprise that 26 percent of HR professionals claimed this to be the most challenging part of their jobs. Also, the legal issues to consider can be particularly stressful for HR workers because one misstep in the termination process can lead to a time-consuming and expensive lawsuit for the company.

Knowing how to conduct effective and insightful exit interviews can help identify reasons a business loses employees and lays the groundwork for a plan to help improve retention in the future.

3. Managing benefits and perks programs

Health insurance, 401k plans, disability, paid vacation time, and a company benefits and perks program can be extensive and complex. Twenty-three percent of HR professionals felt that managing these programs was the most challenging part of the job. Often, these programs include hidden perks such as subsidized training, leaves of absence or seasonal perks such as flexible hours in the summer. Casual dress codes and birthday celebrations may not seem complicated, but they have the potential to start an administrative snafu if not properly implemented.

When HR staff members see a new employee perk being implemented, they have to look ahead to the potential impact and give it a thumbs up or thumbs down, which doesn't always cast them in the most favorable light.

4. Ensuring internal and external compensation equity

The pressure is on the HR team to ensure compensation is competitive. The burden of making sure that a company's workers are not lured away by better salaries, impressive titles or attractive perks rests on the shoulders, at least partially, of human resources. As a result, it’s no surprise that 14 percent of HR professionals cited compensation equity as their top challenge.

Employers are invested in improving employee retention by promoting their top performers and implementing raises, bonuses and fringe benefits. The company relies on human resources to help them do this in the most cost-effective way possible. Regularly benchmarking salaries using tools like the most recent Robert Half Salary Guide can give a company an edge.

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