BUSINESS CHALLENGES AND HUMAN RESOURCES

N.Vijayagopalan

 

Businesses across the globe are facing indomitable challenges on account of a plethora of factors. No sector, no segment is an exception to the pressures emanating from these factors. Economic pressures to keep the operations within a viable level, competition from peer and stronger players, demanding customers and their increasing expectations, the pressing necessity to adapt to the fast changes in digital technology, which make extant technology outmoded, pressures on operating margins and imperative necessity for cutting costs are the major broad challenges Indian businesses are facing.  Everywhere the focus of businesses has shifted to adapting latest technology, cutting costs, improving efficiency and service and managing risks. Needless to mention that no company is insulated from these inevitable challenges and pressures.

 

A business may have the best infrastructure, the best logistics, the most advanced technology. Through it all runs a common thread - people and their skills, their attitude and their leadership traits. Success or failure of the business depends more on this factor than on any other. Modern times have seen human resources having emerged as the topmost factor in the success of any business, for the reason that they are the only resources of a business, which can mitigate the impact of pressures and challenges of the above sort. Herein lies the limitless role of the people in the growth and sustenance of an organization.

 

In today’s complex life, we come across with a variety of situations, information, issues, people and problems and so on and so forth on a day-to-day basis.  Each one of these occasions gives us valuable insights to enhance our skills and knowledge in many areas and make us better equipped to meet our challenges. Many a time such occasions could cause innovative ideas flashing in our minds. In today’s business environment, what is more important is how to beneficially apply the insights gained and the ideas flashing in our minds in our work place for value enhancement of the organisation. It is the bounden duty of each employee to consistently think on:-

 

  • How can I cut my company’s costs?
  • How can I contribute to my company’s efforts to reap maximum benefits out of technology revolution.
  • How can I improve my service to the customers?
  • How can I help the company to effectively manage the business risks?
  • How can I contribute to the company’s efforts to withstand competition.
  • How can I contribute in enhancing the brand value of my company?

 

Consistent application of mind and thought process by the employees to find out ways and means to combat the market challenges assumes high relevance in today’s environment. By doing that, human resources can contribute a lot in effectively tackling the business challenges and pressures and make great things happen in an organization.

 

So far we saw the employees’ side. On the other side, the employer is confronted with a host of issues stemming from management of their human resources. As a business grows, its strategies, structure, and internal processes grow with it. Some employees have a hard time coping with these changes. A lot of companies experience decreased productivity and morale during periods of change. This situation can be tackled only if business owners focus on communicating the benefits of the change to everyone. Regular staff meetings are a good thing to start. When your team understands the why, how, and when of the change, they will be more likely to get on board.

 

Studies reveal that more and more companies are giving added importance to implementing leadership development programs, which are becoming part of their culture. Leadership development is critical in keeping your management team engaged and motivated, and prepares them to take on more responsibilities in the future.  It would be rewarding if opportunities are created for them to use their strengths every day. Accomplishing goals will motivate them and give them a chance to develop their skills.

 

Workforce Training and Development is another important aspect. Investing in the training and development of lower-level employees is a common HR problem. Some businesses have trouble finding the resources to do so. Employees on the front lines are some of your hardest workers, and may not have the time to take a training course. Training and development doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money if managers and senior leadership take the lead in mentoring their subordinate employees. Online training courses could also be provided so that people can go at their own pace. Invest in your workforce and you will have a loyal, productive team.

 

Orientation of employees in adapting to innovation is another HR challenge businesses face. Technology is changing with the speed of lightning. Businesses must be quick to adapt, or face risk of being left in the dust by their competitors. The challenge for small business owners is getting employees to embrace innovation and learn new technology. Communication is critical in this respect. With any change, it is to be made sure that the team understands the why, when, and how. Setting clear goals for the adoption of initiatives, and providing employees with the training they need to get comfortable with it are critical for employers.

Compensation is another major HR challenge confronted by organizations. Many companies find it a difficult task to structure employee compensation. Small businesses have to compete not only with businesses of a similar size, but also with corporations with big payroll budgets. Further, you have to factor in the cost of benefits, training, taxes, and other expenses, which can range from 1.5 to 3 times the employee’s salary. Even though salary is important, it isn’t always the most important factor for job candidates. Creating a system to reward employees for excellent performance is one way to make up for a lower salary. In addition, offering incentive programs such as profit sharing or bonuses, which can be a win-win for the employee and the company is also gaining ground.

 

Recruiting Talented Employees is a significant HR challenge faced by many companies. Attracting talent is a huge investment of time and money. It’s difficult for entrepreneurs to balance between keeping a business running, and hiring the right people at the right time. In addition, it’s impossible to know whether a candidate will actually be a good fit until they’ve worked for you for a period of time. One of the best ways to find the right people for your business is to use a staffing company. They provide temp-to-hire solutions that allow you to try out new employees with little to no risk. You’ll save time, money, and frustration, and maybe even find a future executive or business partner.

 

Retaining Talented Employees is another factor. Competition for talented employees is fierce. Startups and small companies don’t have big budgets for retirement plans, expensive insurance plans, and other costly items that their larger competitors do—at least, not yet. Employee turnover is expensive and can negatively impact business growth. Onboarding is highly effective for employee. Research shows having a structured onboarding process means employees are 58 percent more likely to stay with a company for three years or more.

 

Workplace Diversity is another predominant HR challenge businesses face. Multiple  

generations, ethnic and cultural differences etc. pose problems in jobs. These are just a

few of the many factors that make workplace diversity a continual challenge for many

businesses. The risk of lawsuits for failing to protect employees from harassment is real.

Creating a culture of teamwork and respect will keep the work environment positive  

and productive. In addition, implementing a diversity training programs is a must.

Employers are responsible for setting standards of behavior in the workplace.  

Standards and a system of accountability should be set up early on.

 

It’s important to know common HR issues and accord priority to them so companies

can put the right policies and procedures in place now. Understanding the complexities

of employee benefits, employment laws, leadership development, and other areas will

help companies stay ahead of the competition and meet their business goals this year,

and in the years to come.

 

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