The Modern Challenges Faced by
HR Departments and How to Overcome Them

Problem Solving

These days, Human Resource (HR) departments are face more challenges and issues than ever before. Rising unemployment and employee demands mean there is a constant influx of job applicants, employees leaving and general turnover.

Aside from recruitment, HR managers must juggle the balance between maintaining a steady workflow and responding to internal problems. Organisation and managing your workload are skills you will need in business, and these are especially vital in an HR focused environment.

However, most problems can be overcome and solved with care and effort. Let’s look at some of the challenges HR departments face today, and some of the possible solutions.


A significant part of any HR professional’s role is the hiring of new employees. They are usually responsible for incoming job applications and funnelling them to the right department.

Sometimes HR will also be involved in the interview process, but usually they are responsible for just the job posting and advertising.

The way in which HR departments undertake recruitment has changed over the years. Previously, recruitment may have been conducted at a job fair that HR would attend aiming to attract willing recruits. Now, recruitment is mainly digital, conducted by postings on social media and job boards such as LinkedIn and Indeed, and managed by recruitment software. Not only do HR professionals have to circulate these job alerts, they often have to craft the content as well, including job descriptions, pay, benefits, responsibilities and other vital information.

Recruiters have to be able to sell jobs effectively, not necessarily an easy task with a saturated job market and the ever-changing impact of COVID-19. Benefits are important on job listings, especially when trying to recruit the best talent available. Bonuses such as a good work/life balance, training opportunities and job flexibility are always a plus to applicants.

If a position is niche, then it can be even harder to find the right specialised individual to fill it, so HR really needs to work with other departments to find that person everyone is looking for.

Innovative Strategies

In this modern age, HR has to be always evolving, constantly looking at its practices, and how it can change. The best HR departments refine their practices and strategies to make the best use of their work time and improve productivity.

For example, traditionally, HR handled payments to employees. This can be a tedious and time-consuming task as you have to calculate all the hours that each individual has worked, their base pay, any overtime, etc.

You can imagine how hard this was before the digital age. Fortunately, however, there are now systems in place that can do the hard part. HR departments must still be diligent in choosing and finetuning the right software, and it is likely that they’ll go from application to another over a few years as new innovations and software emerge.

Sometimes, wage payments can be outsourced to a third party, which can be a viable option.

Retaining Employees

Another key element of any HR job description, is to work towards keeping the right talent once hired. After all the hard work that’s gone into the hiring process, the last thing any HR department wants is for that employee to leave after a short time.

There are a number of ways to keep job retention high. For example, allowing employees to take training within their organisation, with the potential for promotion to a higher level further down the line.

Annual pay increases are also a great way to give workers an incentive to stay around longer as it gives them something to work towards. The same can be said for annual bonuses based on performance.

Giving your employees more creative freedom and projects will allow them to feel more responsible and involved in day-to-day operations. Increased responsibilities will help co-workers feel more valued as employees.

Aside from that, creating motivational objectives, leisure and lifestyle benefits are also great ways to help retain employees.


Sometimes, as an HR representative, you may be left with no choice but to let employees go through no fault of their own. This could be due to company downsizing, a bad fiscal year or a change in direction.

Either way, it can be difficult to tell these employees that there is no job for them. This might put them in a precarious financial situation, and it can also result in a bad image for the company.

However, using an outplacement service is a potentially a good alternative to making staff redundant. An outplacement service assists your employees in finding a new job as soon as possible. The support such services offer can help your organisation reduce costs, protect its brand, and drive productivity amongst remaining workers.

Outplacement services are often offered through a third party. This is something worth looking into as it can provide great benefit to your business. There are many outsourcing businesses which offer a great service, and a quick search looking for one of the largest providers of global contemporary career transition solutions offers many options to choose from, including Randstad RiseSmart. A little bit of research shows that they offer this service, guaranteeing 100% of fees invested go towards their support systems.

By using a company like Randstad RiseSmart, you will be able to get career coaches in to assist your employees with moving on, leading to satisfaction all around.

Outplacement has been around for a while, but in the modern age it’s transformed. The first concept of outplacement was more about giving out of work employees somewhere to go during the day, to work on their CVs and job applications.

It’s much more in-depth than that these days. Now, outsourcing services will come into the workplace and work with employers and employees at the same time, trying to support everyone for the best outcome.

Future Issues

With the ever-changing world of HR, you can be sure to expect more challenges to arise in the future, and problems to evolve from pre-existing issues.

Of course, the economy too has to be considered, especially with the aftermath of COVID-19, and we still don’t know the state of play after everything has settled.

It seems that in the future employment will be geared more towards short term contracts. This is known as the gig economy where more people work on a freelance basis than in permanent employment.

The rise of this style of employment brings new challenges for HR as it will require new forms of advertising, new contracts and legal issues. One of the major advantages to outsourcing HR is the fact that it can save your company time and money.

New types of businesses may cause new issues to emerge too. For example, in firms such as Uber and Deliveroo, the majority of workers are freelance and work out of the office, so it is harder to have them engaged working for you. These types of workers require new modern HR strategies as such roles didn’t really exist a few years ago.

Planning for the future will be key, both in terms of rising employment demands and pay increases. In the UK, the minimum wage increases every April, so plan for this change in advance.

New HR software and initiatives will also pop up from time to time. Artificial intelligence technology will be more involved with business long term and will give the workforce a competitive advantage.

This will be a challenge that HR departments will have to tackle, balancing the need for technology against human skill. No one can predict the future, but you can do the best you can to get around it.

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About the Author

Zoe has written and researched articles for a wide variety of career websites, blogs and magazines, has a strong understanding of current business trends and a passion for entrepreneurism.