July 24, 2020

HR can be a challenge. Here’s 6 reasons why.

I speak from experience when I say that HR, as a profession can be a challenge. Some are just minor difficulties but others can be far more serious, often keeping us awake at night. Let me reveal some of these HR pain points.

Staying on top of HR laws

The world of human resources can be a legislative minefield. From the Fair Work Act, National Employment Standards, WHS laws right through to anti-bullying legislation and anti-discrimination legislation. There are laws regulating every part of the employment relationship.

Then, of course, there’s the way in which these laws and regulations need to be interpreted – they can change regularly, thanks to the court and tribunal decisions. And, if that’s not enough, we have to keep on top of the many Awards and Agreements that apply to different sectors, industries and workplaces.

Even though we’re not lawyers, our knowledge around this HR-related legislation needs to be up-to-date – a challenge we’re faced with daily. We have to be able to recognise the red flags and steer our clients in the right direction, even if we stop short of giving legal advice.

People management issues

When it comes to working in human resources, there are plenty of ‘grey’ areas due to the fact we work with people. And, people management isn’t straightforward.

Although our loyalty lies with the employer, we need to make sure they’re being fair (often, open to debate) and that issues raised in the workplace are actually serious ones, worthy of performance management.

In my career, I’ve been witness to a range of people-related issues. And, in some cases, it can be management itself that’s the problem, not the employee. When that happens, convincing a manager to see a different perspective can take real skill.

Getting recruitment wrong

It costs a lot of money to hire an employee and it costs even more to replace the wrong one. There are some scenarios where the wrong person is hired for the role or the employee is simply not the right fit for an organisation.

That’s why we have to be as thorough as possible before making an offer. As part of our recruitment process, we choose to go through multiple interviews, psychometric testing and we carry out a proper reference check. And, after we’ve hired, we also make sure we have the right protection through proper onboarding and a watertight probation period.

Find out more about how to hire the right way in our ultimate guide to hiring employees.

Employees becoming disengaged

Productive employees are key to business success – keeping these employees productive can be a challenge. However, even the best workers can become disengaged given the right (or wrong) circumstances.

To counter this, we recommend having an effective key talent program that gives employees a career path, keeps them motivated, engaged and keeps them striving. I also believe in strong leadership, mentoring and role-modelling to show employees how to harness their potential.

Bad managers present a HR challenge

Poor leadership always leads to poor performance – bad managers can get employees offside, make inefficient decisions and bring down morale. But even underperforming managers can learn new skills – investing in coaching, training and mentoring will assist them in improving their job. And, when they do, the business will improve.

A lurking harassment or bullying case

An HR professional – even the best HR professionals – can only see so much in a workplace. And, you simply don’t know what you don’t know. Lurking underneath the facade of a happy workplace could be a bullying or harassment claim waiting to happen.

A workplace sets its culture from the top and employees model their behaviour and expectations from their superiors. So it’s always important to stamp out bad behaviour from the top down. Again, here’s where training and clear communication comes into it. It’s also why you need clear policy and that you empower people to speak up.

Are you facing a HR challenge right now?

At Catalina Consultants we’re experts when it comes to tackling challenges like these. If you’re facing some of these challenges in your workplace or have any questions, then please reach out to us. We specialise in putting together custom HR strategies that can tackle issues like this and would love to assist.

say hi to our author

Merilyn founded Catalina Consultants in 2012 on the belief that all organisations, regardless of size, should have access to top quality bespoke HR services. She enjoys working closely with her clients and believes that the best results are built on relationships of rapport, trust and authenticity. Growing up, Merilyn had her sight set on stardom and dreamed of becoming an actor. She also sang and played the piano, but ended up studying accounting and HR. Whilst she hasn’t won her Grammy just yet, she still loves a good karaoke night. Merilyn loves to travel with her family, with South Africa being one of her most memorable destinations.

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