Human resources is a vital function in an organization, ensuring that the company has a strong and productive team working to advance the goals of the business. The human resource management team is thus charged with a challenging job that involves managing multiple facets of the human resources department.
Here we’ll discuss some everyday challenges of an HR manager.
Managing Employee Relations
A happy team is a productive team, so one of the more important responsibilities of an HR manager is managing employee relations. This involves creating open communication channels so that employees have the information they need and can ask questions. An HR manager also needs to create a system to get feedback from employees so that they can take steps to improve the quality of the employee experience.
In a perfect world, these channels and systems work perfectly, and employees are productive and happy. But unfortunately, issues that must be dealt with are inevitable. Conflicts can arise between employees or between employees and managers, and the HR department has to get involved to resolve those conflicts. This can be a delicate process that must be handled with care by the HR manager, which can be a huge challenge.
Employee complaints about any number of things may also occur and must be dealt with by the HR department. The complaints may be minor, or they may be more serious, such as a sexual harassment complaint or an accusation of discrimination. In any case, the HR manager has to find ways to resolve complaints while being cognizant of applicable laws.
Another challenge that often must be tackled is taking disciplinary action against an employee for any number of reasons, such as absenteeism or lack of productivity. An HR manager needs to have a clear policy about disciplinary actions that are taken in various situations.
All of these potential issues tend to come up unexpectedly, so the HR manager needs to be able to switch gears to handle such situations as they arise. Sometimes this can be overwhelming, but the HR manager needs to stay calm and handle issues with a level head.
Compliance with Employment Laws and Regulations
Many laws exist that protect the rights of employees, and the HR manager is tasked with ensuring that company policies and actions are in compliance with those laws.
States have laws regarding minimum wages and overtime, as well as laws regarding wrongful termination, workplace safety, worker’s compensation, and general labor laws.
Federal laws that must be followed include the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Equal Pay Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Title VII which prohibits discrimination.
The HR manager must be well-versed in all these laws and have policies in place to make sure the laws are not violated. Non-compliance with such laws can come with serious consequences and can even lead to lawsuits.
Laws are also constantly evolving so the HR manager must stay up to date with all state and federal laws.
Recruitment and Retention
Recruitment can be a challenging job but can be easier with the help of recruitment software, particularly in a tight job market where the HR department has to attract and recruit the best talent. They also have to be able to discern who the best candidates are from a pool of applicants. Many factors go into these processes and decisions, so the HR manager must have a thorough understanding of the various roles in the company to recruit and hire the best-suited candidates.
Employee retention is equally important, as employee turnover is costly for the company. The HR manager needs to be heavily involved in building a positive company culture in which employees feel valued and empowered. To do so, they need to be able to work with management across the organization to develop policies that support that kind of culture.
The HR department, as previously mentioned, also needs to continuously get feedback from employees so that measures can be taken to improve the overall employee experience.
Balancing Multiple Responsibilities
With so much happening in the HR department on a daily basis, the HR manager has to balance their various responsibilities to ensure that all processes are running smoothly. They have to balance:
- Managing payroll and benefits administration
- The recruitment process
- Employee onboarding and offboarding
- Performance management
- Employee relations
- Conflict resolution
That’s a lot to handle on a daily basis! The HR manager must be able to prioritize tasks and delegate certain tasks to their team. Time management for an HR manager is crucial.
With so much going on, it’s easy for an HR manager to experience stress, so they need to take care of their mental and physical health and keep a good work-life balance.
Learn more: How to Develop an HR Plan
Using HR Technology
An HR manager must be able to handle the complexities of implementing and managing HR software, such as applicant tracking systems, performance management systems, HR analytics, and payroll software. Such HR technology improves the efficiency of HR processes and eases the workload of the team, but the HR manager sometimes has to take a bit of an IT role, learning new systems and training the team to use them.
They also need to stay up to date on advancements in technology. New HR software of various types is always emerging that can improve process efficiencies even more. HR managers should be aware of new technology options, explore them, and make decisions about implementing new systems. These decisions must sometimes be made in conjunction with upper management.
An HR manager has a lot to handle on a daily basis, but it can also be a very rewarding role. From providing jobs to building a great team that can help the company advance, an effective HR manager provides much value.
If you’re an HR manager or aspire to become one, don’t let the challenges stand in your way. Keep in mind that you’re a crucial part of your company, and be proud of your accomplishments. Let the rewards of the job push you through the challenging times, and don’t forget to take care of yourself so that you can be the best you can be.