Total Rewards

3 Challenges HR Leaders Face in 2017

/ February 3, 2017 February 3, 2017

Changing times calls for progressive HR leadership. Establishing a solid and progressive HR leadership team will be key to addressing issues related to flexible work arrangements, virtual teams and being able to recruit and retain talent in an economic downturn.

Sustaining a culture includes everyday conversations with co-located employees, and building personal connections to support collaboration and team relationships and dynamics. In a virtual team environment, leaders are challenged with having to overcome potential virtual employee isolation which may result in that employee contributing less to the overall team objectives. Team spirit and cohesiveness is built over time and leads to enhancing team trust. Disjointed email communications and lack of everyday interactions creates challenges of virtual teams. An important part of addressing this challenge is arming managers with the skills and the abilities to manage remote workforces.

Secondly, flexible work arrangements are an expectation of most millennials. A recent Millennial Branding report found 45% of Millennials will choose workplace flexibility over pay. Leaders are faced with shifting organizational practices to meet the needs of the biggest contributor of the US workforce. Studies show that Millennials do not believe that productivity should be measured by the number of hours worked at the office, but by the output of the work performed. They view work as a ‘thing’ and not a ‘place.’”  With Flexible work arrangements, millennials do not see a clean separation between professional and social worlds. They are and will continue to be answering emails at midnight from their boss. Leadership must weigh the risk of this closely. Technology can expose overtime liability for companies with non-exempt employees who are often connected to the job and emails through mobile devices. Technically, this can be considered as additional work time in which the company will be responsible for paying overtime. HR leaders need to develop practices and policies to monitor and control this costly exposure that will continue to be driven by technology.

Finally, government and changes our nation’s leadership can and will impact the economy. Leading through economic downturns will always be an obstacle that organizations must face. High unemployment does not necessarily imply high talent availability. Leaders must always be prepared to arm their recruiters with strategic skills in assessing and leveraging talent in an economic downturn.

The future holds many unknowns for leaders in business. Having a progressive view and developing flexible forward thinking HR leaders who are equipped with the right resources will be critical to driving success and attracting and retaining the right talent.