Thursday, August 5, 2010

What’s the Biggest Issue Facing HR Today?

In my efforts to keep up with the latest, I was reading some online articles. One article in particular caught my eye. In it, the author challenged the results of a recent survey by ComPsych ( that states HR Managers are more concerned about morale than any other issue, even healthcare reform.

Here’s the survey breakdown of what HR Managers are most concerned about according to the ComPsych survey.:

31% - Maintaining employee productivity and morale
26% - Dealing with healthcare costs and new legislation
16% - Finding qualified candidates
14% - Handling organizational change
13% - Retaining top performers

In talking with my clients, I believe the survey is correct. Here’s why: Last year, people feared for their jobs, unemployment was high, and companies were downsizing. Throughout 2009, we saw fewer employee relations concerns, lower turnover, and a general decrease in “boat rocking.”

Last fall, a recruiter friend of mine predicted companies that didn’t treat their employees well during the recession would experience significant turnover at the end of it. I’m sure she was right. Now, the job market is opening back up. Companies are hiring, but on a limited basis. Workloads are higher than ever. As a result, turnover is creeping back up. Regardless of what happened during the past year, there are some things you can do now to reduce the risk of losing your best performers. Try these steps:

▪ Provide recognition for your top performers and for anyone who has gone above and beyond during this period. Let them know you appreciate their efforts.

▪ Make certain that their current workloads are manageable. People will work extended hours for short periods of time, but it’s not sustainable unless there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

▪ Open up those lines of communications. People want to feel in on the things that matter. Even if you can’t give them what they need now, let them know you’re aware of their needs and are planning for the future.

▪ Don’t subscribe to the “Employees should be thankful for a job” management theory. That’s a sure recipe for the need to recruit replacement employees.

What about Healthcare reform? I predict that the biggest healthcare challenges for HR professionals are 9-12 months away. That’s when our employees will be looking at neighboring companies and asking: “Why didn’t we handle the healthcare reform implementation like they did?” Of course, if we don’t take steps to retain our best employees now, we won’t need to worry about providing medical benefits later.

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