The Plight of Human Resource Managers

BY Tim Londergan
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Human resource managers are in a dark place. Overseeing their organization’s recruitment, interview, selection, and hiring process is an enormous task in this post-​vaccine period. Consider too, that workers have the upper hand and HR managers are finding it hard to hold on to talented staff members. Likewise, the concern for worker safety and the gravitational pull of returning to the traditional workplace add to the plight of human resource managers. This unique set of challenges is quantified in the second annual survey entitled “HR in the Age of Workplace Uncertainty” by MindEdge Learning.

The plight of human resource managers is led by concern for safety

Because human resources managers shoulder the burden of workplace safety, employees’ physical well-​being in a reopened workplace is a top concern. 38% of survey respondents are most concerned about health and safety risks in returning to the physical workplace. Notably, the national survey pointed to the West and Northwest as suffering the greatest impact of the Delta variant surge on businesses that plan to reopen. Meanwhile, half (51%) of respondents’ companies had already reopened and 81% said they felt safe returning to work. Only 15% of respondent’s companies had yet to return to the office. Of those, 21% say they are concerned about a safe return to the workplace.

High employee turnover is the second-​ranked concern

Employee churn is perpetual, but a majority (54%) of surveyed HR professionals agree that employee turnover is higher now than before the pandemic. In addition, employee burnout is a concern and one that needs special attention. Consequently, this puts tremendous pressure on recruitment and retention efforts adding to the plight of human resource managers in a jobs market that remains unclear. Reportedly, health care and manufacturing are the sectors that show a significantly increased rate of hiring over the pre-​pandemic period. Certainly, competition for qualified candidates and the challenges of interviewing and recruiting in a remote environment are daunting.

Remote HR functions normalized

Recruiting and onboarding in a virtual environment adds to the plight of human resource managers. 89% of respondents say they are conducting remote HR functions at least some of the time, while one-​third do so all the time. Subsequently, two-​thirds say virtual recruiting is harder, and 40% say remote on-​boarding is harder than in-​person functions. Interestingly, remote interviewing is reported to be at least as productive as in-​person interviewing by 64% of the respondents. Within that group, 22% say it is more productive. 

The disconnect of remote work and remote work training

You should consider the plight of human resource managers when it’s revealed that fully one-​half of companies offer remote work options but 61% say their companies offer no remote work training. Remarkably, only 28% say their companies offer training in remote work to all associates. 11% reserve remote work training to manager-​level employees and above. Increasingly, HR managers are tasked with creating guidelines for hybrid work schedules for at least some employees, according to 78% of respondents. 21% say all their workers are on some type of hybrid schedule. Typically, a hybrid schedule requires two-​to-​three days per week in the office. When workers are in-​person, HR personnel is responsible for putting safety measures in place. Common measures are:

  • Mandatory masks — 73%
  • Limit conference room attendees — 72%
  • Mandatory social distancing — 69%

Human resource managers oversee the company’s most valuable asset

The human resource department has the enormous responsibility of managing a company’s workforce. Moreover, HR is responsible for keeping everything in alignment to maintain the health and well-​being of the entire company. Working in an uncertain environment adds to the plight of human resource managers and requires insight, training and flexibility. To lighten the load, SalesFuel offers a book entitled Hire Smarter, Sell More! and can be the key to elevating your hiring practices through the science of behavioral analytics.

Photo by Christina@​wocintechchat.​com