The challenges faced by the HR head maybe very different from the ones rank-and-file HR professionals face. The dynamic nature of the today’s talent economy has thrown up new challenges to match the new opportunities it has opened up. Here are a few key challenges every HR head faces.
Strategic business partner – It is the HR department’s responsibility to develop the talent in a way that makes the desired business outcomes possible. Company’s key leadership may not understand how behaviors impact the bottom line. It is the HR head who has to guide them on how to best utilize the available talent. She has to grow out of being an administrator trying to implement policy and into a strategic business partner who enables business to achieve their goals.
Change management – Change management is a big challenge for most of the HR heads today. The dynamic nature of the economy in which most of today’s businesses operate means that HR heads need to deal with change often and also steer the workforce through turmoil that may hit the organization at a moment’s notice. As an HR professional climbs up the corporate ladder, it is advised that she works on acquiring the requisite competencies through training or coaching to face up to this new challenge.
Leadership development – Leadership development is a key strategic initiative that HR departments across the globe need to take. This is of paramount importance to ensure that managers are well-equipped to take up leadership roles and ensure thought continuity at the top making the organization viable in the longer term. The HR leader has to put in place the right structures and tools to develop the future leaders of the organization. Essentially, their role is of a watch-maker and not of a time-teller.
Measuring HR effectiveness – According to the World Federation of Personnel Management Associations: “Utilizing metrics to determine effectiveness is the beginning of a shift from perceiving HR’s role as purely an administrative function to viewing the HR team as a true strategic partner within the organization.” They go on to say that “There is an evolving recognition that (HR) can provide organizational value by measuring the effectiveness of the entire business organization. The shift is significant as it represents movement from simply counting the numbers hired to determining the ROI of collective and individual hires on a long-term basis. Going beyond measuring turnover, this new approach considers ‘bad’ turnover and ‘good’ turnover along with the overall cost of replacement hires.”
Talent retention – While interacting with a client, we were told that his recently hired senior manager was receiving at least 5 phone calls per week from recruiters! Multiple surveys conducted over the last couple of years say that one in four high-potential employees are planning to leave their current organization. The surveys also point out that training managers to be better coaches improves performance by as much as 25%. This creates a two-faced problem for the HR leader – should he invest in employees that may soon leave them? This also highlights how important a focus on talent retention is for company viability in the long run. (Swati spoke about one of her cousins getting a lot of calls after shifting to Mumbai)
Succession planning – Continuity at the top and reducing any adverse effects of the change is one the key deliverable of any HR head. They have to play a key role in not just identifying the right people for the role but also ensuring a smooth transition. They may also need to coach the current leadership to recognize that earlier they work on succession the better it will be for the company – and that this does not mean the organization wants to see them leave soon. There is a need for HR outsourcing solutions in Mumbai to help organizations with this critical issue.
Managing cross-generational workforce – With the aging population and ability to work remotely, the workforce is becoming more and more diverse. Teams are formed of members cutting across nationality, educational backgrounds and generations. While this means a much richer team that can be more creative than a homogeneous one, it also brings its own set of challenges that the HR head needs to tackle. The legal obligations that the HR head has to meet also becomes spread out with the team.