Human resources professionals juggle a wide range of responsibilities, from recruiting to retention and everything in between.

It’s rarely a slow day in a typical human (HR) resources department. Charged with handling all types of personnel issues, HR teams provide the foundation for a well-staffed and smartly managed company.

Here are the top four challenges faced by HR professionals, according to a survey by OfficeTeam:

1. Identifying and hiring candidates for open jobs

Thirty-six percent of HR respondents claimed recruiting and identifying the right job applicant was the biggest work challenge. An HR professional needs to be adept at finding and securing the best employees, 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 in the workforce are eager to join their team.

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2. Conducting employee terminations or layoffs at work

Since letting a worker go is usually an emotionally draining process, it's no surprise that 26 percent of HR professionals claimed this issue to be the most challenging part of their job. 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 work benefits, training and perks programs

Employer sponsored retirement plans, disability, paid vacation time, extended healthcare benefits, and other company perks and benefits programs can be extensive, complex and difficult to manage. Twenty-three percent of HR professionals felt that managing these programs was the most challenging part of the job. These programs often 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. HR may need to troubleshoot solutions to issues that arise when managing any new workplace programs.

When HR sees 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 in the workplace.

4. Ensuring internal and external compensation equity

The pressure is on the HR team to ensure workplace pay is competitive. The burden of making sure that an organisation's workers are not lured away by better pay, 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 management of compensation equity as their top issue at work.

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

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