5 HR challenges to overcome in 2022

Published on 26/05/2022 by Andrew Blair

Human resources (HR) professionals are under siege in the aftermath of COVID-19, facing significant changes in the workplace that have given rise to a whole host of HR challenges. What are some of this year’s biggest HR challenges and how can small to midsize enterprises (SMEs) overcome them?

Two HR professionals navigating a maze of HR challenges

As Australia enters post-pandemic recovery mode, employees are reevaluating their priorities and dictating what they want from the future of work. What does this mean for HR teams and is your organisation prepared for this new era? We look at strategies and HR tools to help SMEs tackle five HR challenges that lie ahead.   

1. Supporting mental health

Mental health has taken the spotlight in recent years and remains one of the top HR challenges according to the Australian HR Institute (AHRI), which reported that mental health is a leading cause of struggle among 28.8% of Australian employees

How we feel and how we perform at work are mutually reinforcing. Therefore, shining a light on mental health is a top priority for many HR professionals, as the topic is still a remnant of the pandemic. 

Breaking the stigma around mental health is a major concern as only 8.6% of employees turn to their employers when reaching out for help. Employers are the most effective option for amplifying employee confidence to care for their mental health in the workplace. However, it’s evident that Australian employees have little trust in their employers when it comes to talking to them about their mental health. 

Facilitating employee feedback is a central component in addressing mental health. Employees often don’t know where to turn, as many organisations lack the capabilities or resources to deal with mental health issues. Organisations should develop a plan to support positive mental health, which could include collecting anonymous employee feedback via surveys, training managers and their teams on how to deal with mental health issues, and providing resources that support employee wellbeing.

2. Defining a recruitment strategy

A shift in recruitment strategy is required to stand out against competitors in terms of winning the war for talent. This should include setting new objectives to meet common HR challenges and accomplish recruiting goals.

The key difference is to define a strategy directed toward a highly competitive candidate-led market, where the number of vacancies outweighs the number of job seekers in some sectors. 

Businesses will have to refine and streamline their entire recruitment process to assimilate with HR trends from creating and posting job ads to building a presence in the market as an employer of choice. As it may be more challenging for SMEs to stand out against larger competitors, identifying with employees’ wants will be crucial to luring talent in these testing times.   

Optimising the recruitment process

  • Automate job posting: Job board software is designed to facilitate the hiring process by allowing recruiters to post to multiple job boards to spread their search.
  • Identify and evaluate potential candidates: Manage candidates and speed up the recruitment cycle with recruitment software, which helps filter through CVs more efficiently.
  • Build a presence in the market: Standing out against competitors is essential for SMEs. By leveraging social media platforms, recruiters can showcase the company culture and also encourage employees to do the same with employee advocacy software

3. Retaining top talent 

Not only does a candidate-led market make it difficult to win over new talent, but it also means employers need to embrace their top employees to prevent them from jumping ship. 

Sourcing and retaining talent are fast becoming two of the biggest HR challenges faced by SMEs. These challenges are closely linked with what has been labelled the ‘Great Resignation’ in the US, where vast amounts of employees are leaving their jobs.

Although figures at the moment suggest the contrary in Australia, a recent study indicates that 1 in 4 Australians (23%) are considering leaving their current place of employment. It appears that the psychological impact of the pandemic has prompted employees to take a step back and reassess what they want. This shift in power, according to Randstad Australia, means that many workers are rethinking priorities and are no longer afraid to move on from roles that don’t align with their values. 

Remuneration and reward formulate a well-structured employee value proposition (EVP) and have provided employees with financial security during the pandemic. However, with employees reevaluating their current employment roles, employers will need to prioritise their EVPs to align with employee expectations when it comes to payment. Employee surveys offer a way to gauge levels of employee satisfaction, motivation, and engagement, and to discover more about the drivers behind these. This can not only help identify areas for improvement to retain current employees but also help inform recruitment strategies.   

4. Managing expectations about flexible working

Post-pandemic working arrangements in Australia are set to look entirely different, and managing these expectations will no doubt feature in future HR challenges. The work-from-home experiment became the new normal, with more than 40% of employed Australians regularly still working from home.

As hybrid working is likely here to stay, for HR processes, according to the AHRI, it is anticipated that new technology will change work so that it will be less transactional and more meaningful. The increase in the use of IT applications across the workplace will require development in digital literacy skills. Trust between managers and employees, employee surveillance and privacy, and access to technological resources when working from home are among the anticipated challenges.

Incorporating hybrid working arrangements as part of an EVP can help to attract as well as retain the best employees. Without offering flexibility, employers could be at a disadvantage when it comes to accessing a range of talent. At the same time, some employers are using flexible work arrangements as a lure for new hires. Many organisations will need to strike the right balance in terms of how they address these expectations without losing the ability to build a strong workplace culture and increase productivity. 

5. Establishing a positive workplace culture

Employer branding is now more than just being known as a reputable company, it encompasses values, vision, and leadership. Employer branding focuses on what makes an organisation the employer of choice, and culture is at its core.  

Workplace culture can motivate employees as well as increase productivity and collaboration, which is why 44% of employees choose to come into the office to co-locate with their team and 42% prefer to come in for social events and moments that matter. 

A healthy and positive workplace culture can help create meaningful connections, brand identity, and drive innovation. Previously the office was the driver of workplace culture, now the office is about bringing people together and creating values. When employees opt to work from home, this can prove a challenge for HR teams. Employee engagement software can be used to maintain employee awareness of company culture and help increase employees’ level of investment in a company. 

Focus on an employee-centric approach 

It’s clear to see that there’s a link between the challenges mentioned above that places employees at the forefront. Focusing on employees as your greatest asset and utilising the right tools will enable HR professionals to gain an advantage in this challenging market. 

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This article may refer to products, programs or services that are not available in your country, or that may be restricted under the laws or regulations of your country. We suggest that you consult the software provider directly for information regarding product availability and compliance with local laws.