4 Challenges HR Professionals Can Expect To See in 2019

 

 Written by Benjamin Lee for iqDynamics

It should come as no surprise that 2019 is shaping up to be a pretty interesting year with what we’ve seen so far. At IQDynamics, we had the pleasure of sitting down with several experienced HR managers from various industries and got their take on what challenges we can expect to see in 2019.

 

Here, are 4 challenges that HR professionals can expect to face in 2019.

 

Opening up lines of communication

During our interface with a senior HR director, it was mentioned that employee engagement remains to be one of the most critical challenges faced by HR professionals to date. In a time where organizations have to fight tooth and nail to attract the best candidates, employee engagement is looking to be one of the most important factors in the “war for talent.”

 

In a nutshell, an engaged employee is defined as one who is totally absorbed and enthusiastic about the nature of his/her work. From here, said employee will take steps to take positive action that will serve to benefit both the organization’s reputation and interests.

Employees who are engaged are motivated and significantly more productive compared to disengaged workers. In turn, this helps generate a positive work environment which motivates other employees and improves productivity.

However, in stark contrast a disengaged employee is oftentimes unmotivated, unhappy, and disillusioned. These disengaged employees have the potential to spread dissent and unhappiness among other employees which can have severe consequences on the long-term.

 

As workplace demographics evolve and a new generation of workers enter the workplace, HR professionals must reorganize and rethink their strategies of employee engagement. This is especially relevant in Singapore where a 2017 study conducted by Jobstreet.com discovered that a shocking 45% of Singaporeans reported that they were felt unhappy and unmotivated at the workplace.

Among some of the reasons cited were; a sense of dissatisfaction with the organization’s leadership, a lack of benefits, and finally the absence of career development.

 

Perhaps this can be attributed to the fact that Singaporean employers tend to adopt a more rigid and structured system which discourages employees from speaking up or expressing themselves. Further compounding this issue is the reluctance of employers to invest in employee development which can be frustrating for an ambitious employee.

HR professionals should look towards opening avenues of communication between the leadership team and members of the organization while also providing employees with a means of providing feedback to the leadership team.

 

While this may be a grating prospect to some leaders, constructive criticism allows the management to fine-tune their approach while ensuring that the goals of the management team and it’s employees are aligned.

With a performance management and learning management system that provides employees with a mixture of feedback from superiors and peers alike, positive reinforcement and corrective action can be taken easily.

 

 Employee retention

 

Building upon our previous point, employee retention and reduced staff turnover are one of the major issues that HR professionals can expect to face in 2019. Hiring and training new staff members is a time-consuming affair which in turn also affects the organization’s productivity.

After all, an often heard complaint among managers and HR professionals alike is how employees often jump ship the first chance they get. However, as HR professionals and senior leaders, we need to ask ourselves if our employees are given the right incentive to stay on.

 

As seen in Jobstreet’s 2017 report, Singaporean employees cited a lack of career development and opportunities as a reason behind their latent unhappiness. Being the fast-paced, highly-competitive society that Singapore is, it should come as no surprise that Singaporean workers are both ambitious and highly-competitive.

 

This is why, one of the best ways of encouraging employee loyalty is to cater to this competitive streak. By providing employees with ample opportunities for training as well as clearly-defined career goals, employers are able to better motivate employees to remain with the organization.

While some employers may question the effectiveness of training employees, citing additional costs in time and money, research has shown us that investing in employees does wonders for employee morale as it engenders a sense of pride and value in employees.

 

Alongside this, training is also crucial in building up a highly-skilled and knowledgeable team that can in turn generate immense value for the organization.

With IQDynamics’ HRMS that features an integrated learning management system HR professionals can now easily implement training programs to further develop their employees.

 

 Developing effective succession plans

 

From preparing a new generation of leaders to developing and upscaling the skill level of existing staff members, succession planning is beyond a doubt one of the most important roles played by HR professionals.

Hence it is rather unfortunate that only a dismal 8% of Singaporean family-run businesses reported that they had robust succession planning procedures in place.

 

With a positive outlook in business growth in 2019 for family-owned enterprises and with an ageing population factored in, it is clear that succession planning is another issue that we can expect to be hotly discussed in 2019.

A robust succession plan is crucial to ensure stability in an organization that is looking to remain profitable on the long-term. Speaking from real-life experience, a Malaysia-based HR director, told us that his company was facing the incredibly real prospect of financial ruin as a result of poor succession planning.

 

Acting against the advice of senior managers, the owner of a business in Malaysia chose to elect his daughter as the CEO of the company on his retirement citing a desire to keep the business “within the family.”

Dissatisfied with the new CEO’s management, a majority of the senior leadership resigned which in turn caused a mass departure of staff from the company. A year later, through a combination of inexperience and bad decisions, the company was faced with plummeting profits and soaring employee turnover.

 

The above problem highlights a very real problem experienced by HR professionals working in family-run organizations. Given that the large proportion of conglomerates in South-East Asia are family-owned, the reluctance of owners to heed the advice of HR professionals is a potentially serious problem.

Hence, through a combination of training and communication, HR professionals need to work together with both owners and senior managers to develop an action plan to tackle this issue.

 With IQDynamics’ succession planning module that integrates HRi and employee appraisal, training potential successors is easier then ever.

 

 A greater focus on automation

 

Not so much a problem as it is a trend for 2019, one of our interviewees cited a greater focus on automation as one of the action items that we can expect to see in 2019. This should come as no surprise as most traditional HR roles such as filing, payroll, and other administrative duties are laborious and time consuming.

 

Time spent on administrative tasks leaves HR professionals with little to no time for more value added tasks such as training, employee development, and strategizing. This is why we can expect to see 2019 to be a year where organizations will begin looking into automating the vast majority of HR processes.

By freeing up HR professionals for more important tasks, the organization is then better able to leverage on the talents of the HR department. From sourcing better quality talent to developing training programs that empower employees, automation is most definitely the way forward.

 

At IQDynamics, we offer a comprehensive set of HR management solutions in one complete package. From processing employee claims to generating the payroll and even developing training programs IQDynamics has you covered.

With our HRM system, you have the freedom to take your business to a whole new level with our suite of software. Prepare for the future when you invest in IQDynamics.

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