“Employees are a company’s greatest asset – they’re your competitive advantage. You want to attract and retain the best; provide them with encouragement, stimulus, and make them feel that they are an integral part of the company’s mission.” – Anne M. MulCahy
Human resource (HR) management plays a key role in ensuring employees stay motivated and steers the boat in the right direction parallel to the company’s goals. Even though this may not be relevant to budding SMEs, it is vital to understand current HR issues so that they will know how to cope and manage employees when they expand.
HR policies, programmes and plans are important because it determines organizational success and raises productivity. However, ineffective HR policies can result in higher unit labour costs by impairing output and quality. In today’s age, HR policies are also affected by technological changes and the impact of policies affects competence and motivation on productivity. In order to prevent this, it is significant for companies to identify HR issues. Below is a list of common HR issues that companies face.
1. Diversity and discrimination at work
With globalization, diversity in the workplace is inevitable. Especially in Singapore, most companies will definitely have employees of different age, race, gender, and religion and this may lead to discriminatory practices or unequal treatments between employees during conflicts. HR in companies should show zero tolerance to these issues as employees can be emotionally affected by such discrimination and might report to the authorities if the company fails to take necessary actions. This is a heavy consequence as it might tarnish the company’s image and HR will have difficulty in hiring new people.
Therefore, HR should deal with complaints of discrimination quickly and confidentially while ensuring that there is proper steps in managing the complaints effectively so that employees feel respected and safe working in the workplace.
Due to the shift in hiring patterns, many fresh grads are offered contract jobs and it is common to hear of young talents leaving their jobs due to the lack of career advancements. Companies have to recognize that it’s more cost-effective to retain talent and it affects the productivity levels – for every employee that leaves, HR has to re-recruit and train the new employee before the productivity is restored.
What HR can do is to do retain quality employees is to provide training, upgrading courses and workshops to keep employees motivated and loyal. However, all of these must happen continuously and proactively to consistently keep the business on a competitive edge and to prevent employees from losing interest in their job.
3. Employee well-being and mental health
Any company will experience a fall in productivity if employees are unwell or if there is no employee at all. Ensuring the pink of health of workers keeps productivity high and absenteeism low and this includes physical and mental health.
According to XpertHR, employers should address mental health issues and reminds employers it is critical for an employer to comply with the various laws that come into play when dealing with an employee that has a mental health issue such as the FMLA and ADA. HR can instill mental health assistance and ensure employees know how to access the support provided as part of their programs and policies. Furthermore, HR can promote how to maintain a good mental health in the workplace.
In the era of social media, mobile devices and artificial intelligence, technology has a discerning impact on the workplace of the future. Due to the advancements of technology, processes are made faster, more efficient and accurate – which promotes business growth and productivity.
To prevent the mistakes of Nokia and Blackberry, companies have to ensure that they are able to keep up with the technological changes and employers needs to be proactive in doing so. Besides having policies that comply with legal requirements to protect the employer’s legitimate business interests, there should also be guidelines on addressing any leakages of private corporate information and data in contracts for employees.
As labour cost rises domestically, there are more freelancers and employees willing to take up contract jobs which provides employers a more cost-effective way to extend their company’s workforce, without requiring the company to hire new staffs. This is more common with short-term or one-time projects that require specialized knowledge and skills.
However, issues that arise with outsourced employees are their credibility and if they meet internal standards and requirements such as having qualifications or industry body memberships. What HR can assist with this situation is to ensure that they scan every suitable candidate to make sure that they are a good fit for the job. In addition, HR should also record the employment details of outsourced staffs the same way as they do for permanent staffs for re-hiring and easy retrieval of staff information in future.
To conclude, an organization can succeed if it has a sustainable competitive advantage which is through the human capital (i.e. employees). HR influences who works for the organization and how those individuals work – thus, tackling the HR issues in companies efficiently will in turn contribute to an organization’s success as quality and profitability.
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