HR Challenges for a New Year (and a New Normal)
It’s no secret the challenges HR professionals face are constantly evolving. Throw in a global pandemic and those challenges rise to a whole new level – now HR professionals are having to solve problems they never dreamed possible.
As 2020 has proven, it’s impossible to prepare for every possibility. However, it is possible to put yourself in the best position to face some of the upcoming challenges of conducting business in the ‘new normal’ we’re all adapting to.
Updating Employee Handbooks
An essential tool for managing your workforce and promoting fairness and consistency across all situations is an up-to-date employee handbook. Although often overlooked, an employee handbook is a critical piece of documentation that could either expose you to or protect you from potential risks.
With the largest ever percentage of the US workforce now working from home – whether on a temporary or permanent basis – employers need to consider adding policies to their handbooks to address the new working norms. These may include policies regarding the use of company technology outside the office, new timekeeping and schedule standards, and new safety protocols.
Complying with Federal, State and Local Policies and Legislation Changes
Speaking of policy updates, staying up-to-date on the constantly evolving legislation changes due to the pandemic and creating ‘new norms’ is a now critical item on any HR professional’s to-do list. New laws and policies regarding the unprecedented COVID-19 challenges are popping up at all levels, and include guidance and requirements for employers that address time off and paid leave, compensation, and more. It’s important to your business success that you stay on top of all these changes, especially since it now appears they won’t be going away any time soon.
Understanding Workforce Planning
Workforce planning is a key challenge for HR professionals as they work to maintain their staffing requirements. Whether it’s navigating the standard fluctuations seen throughout the year, or navigating the new production demands and furloughs many businesses are facing, taking a strategic approach to your workforce planning will have a positive impact on your bottom line.
Workforce management activities include more than just your staffing and recruiting needs, they also include employee training, compensation, and retention and engagement evaluations. Have an understanding of the different solutions you can implement in response to different challenges as they arise. For example, you may want to allocate extra effort into an employee engagement program, especially after the previous challenging year that may have included mass layoffs or furloughs.
Discovering What Employees Really Want
A comprehensive benefit package has long been an integral part of attracting and retaining the talent your workforce needs. Creating packages based on what your employees’ actually want is the best way to make your company difficult to walk away from. Now that we’re operating in the ‘new normal’ business environment, it’s time to check in and see what is now most important to your employees and adapt your benefit packages to match.
As an HR professional, the challenges you face day-to-day and year-to-year are constantly evolving. On what we hope is the back end of a global pandemic, those challenges are even more unique than ever before. It’s impossible to plan for every issue that may pop up (as 2020 proved on multiple occasions) but knowing the top challenges most are facing this year will help you to better prepare potential solutions to implement as different problems inevitably arise.