As human resources professionals are preparing for 2013, they should be aware of the challenges they can expect to face in the next year. Recruiting and retention are both expected to remain problems while HR professionals also must focus on providing career development paths and improving their own business acumen.
Recruiting troubles expected to continue
Talent shortages have been a continuing issue, especially with today’s technology, says Jennifer Schramm, manager of work force trends and forecasting at the Society for Human Resource Management. Technology is changing at such a fast speed that many of the job candidates do not have the appropriate education or certifications to keep on pace. While jobs may be available, much of the work force is still behind on the necessary education to secure those positions.
“Things change so rapidly that the ability to use certain technologies is always evolving, so you always need people with new skills,” Schramm says.
Retention is likely to be difficult
While the job market is still fairly weak, it is improving, which will make it more difficult to retain employees, Schramm says. Many employees have stayed in their same positions as the economy has struggled, and they might be ready for a change. This is particularly true among the high-performing employees who are looking for new challenges.
“A lot of the best employees are ready to move on as the job market improves, and it is improving month by month,” Schramm says. “The job market seems to be making small, incremental improvements, so retention really is important because if there are these skill shortages, then retaining the good employees that you have is critical.”
Employers must focus on career development
Considering that employers are still having trouble recruiting the right talent, it is even more important to have career development paths, Schramm says. High-performing employees are more likely to leave, but an employer can hold onto those employees if they have the chance to attain advanced work opportunities. Offering career development paths is especially important to the younger generation of workers.
“Being able to fulfill your potential is a really important job satisfaction factor, and being able to make career strides is extremely rewarding for young people, especially since so many of those employees have had a tough time getting a foothold into the first wrung of the career ladder. It’s been hard for the generation that came out during the recession and beyond.”
HR professionals must possess strong business acumen
HR professionals cannot simply rely on their HR knowledge. Instead, HR professional must be prepared to strengthen their business knowledge on all organizational levels, Schramm says. While HR professionals should have an understanding of related issues, such as the Affordable Care Act, they should all be aware of other legal complexities to ensure their organizations are in full compliance with the law.
“HR professionals need to be able to interact with other business leaders and speak the language of financials and strategies,” Schramm says. “That’s just part of being a business leader, and HR is at the heart of the business.”