Challenges Facing Human Resource Departments Today

The current technological advancements and the rapid changes in the business environment have not only increased the significance of the human resource departments but have also presented a number of new challenges. Some of the changes that are being witnessed in the world of work include new labor laws, increased international mobility, globalization, outsourcing and talent shortages. Consequently, the functions of the human resource departments are also changing. The HR professionals are now increasing under the growing need to respond to some of these changes by implementing policies and strategies that are in line with the business objectives of their organizations, while at the same time, enhancing transparency and accountability in the management of their workforces.

According Sherriton and Stern (1997), one of the biggest challenges facing many human resource departments is how to effectively manage the changes. In the today’s dynamic business environments, change has proven to be the only constant. Consequently, this compels the organizations to redefine their organizational cultures to enable them to exploit new opportunities that come with the changes. In the face of new changes, the human resource departments may be forced to find new ways of providing leadership for these change processes. In most cases, responding to these organizational changes may require modifying the culture that is running the game. In this regard, the critical challenges that may face the human resource department include the task of helping employees to overcome their resistance to change and equipping them with the skills of dealing with the realities of change. Occasionally, the human resource department of an organization may be forced to alter its own subculture so as to adapt to the new changes in the business environment. In this regard, the human resource department should be in a position to act as a role model providing leadership to the larger organizations by first adopting the change in its own practice.

On the other hand, the human resource department is also required to help in facilitating the implementation of the innovations by initiating the learning process of culture change. For example, it is the responsibility of the human resource professionals to educate the entire organization on why the modifications are necessary in the organization. Additionally, the HR department must lobby the support of all the stakeholders so as to limit the probability of resistance. Human resource departments also face the challenge of providing the necessary expertise to ensure the stability of the relevant processes and systems during the change process. Finally, the HR departments must always play a supportive role to the cultural change in the organization. This involves developing supportive policies and procedures, while at the same time, providing perspective and the relevant feedback to the change processes (Sherriton and Stern, 1997).

Another significant challenge facing human resource departments in most parts of the world is the management of the top talents. This is largely presented in regard to the fact that the main objective of any human resource professional is to acquire talented workforce. With the rapid technological advancements, we currently witness the effects of globalization as competition between organizations has substantially increased. Even the small organizations operating in the local markets will one day be forced to globally outsource the right talents. Consequently, it is the human resource departments of the firms that make the difference between organizations. In some cases, the HR departments may be regarded as a critical source of an organization’s competitive advantage.

The increased competitiveness among the firms as a result of globalization has also created a new challenge for most human resource departments as they begin to compete for the scarce available talents in the market (“Managing top talents is HR’s main challenge”, 2007). In this regard, the prosperity and the ability of the company to develop further and make progress depend on the work of its human resource department and managers who are responsible for selecting and hiring new personnel. Many analysts concur that it may be easier to retain the existing talents in the company than finding new employees. Consequently, the challenge of finding the right talents is very much likely to continue with the increasing competition among business organizations, and there is a growing need for new ways of attracting and maintaining talented workers.

Some of the ways through which the human resource departments can effectively use to attract and retain the top talents include provision of better working conditions, designing attractive compensation packages, giving the workers more autonomy and job enrichment. Additionally, the HR departments should strive to reduce the stress in the employees by improving on the areas such as job security, work schedule, workplace noise and the pace of work (Dessler, 2011).

An organization’s success and competitiveness largely depend on how it is able to attract and maintain the top talents in the market. The author of the article ” Managing top talents is HR’s main challenge” (2007) also argues that as human resource departments continue to become smaller though more strategic, a drive for functional excellence is likely to increase. This is particularly so with regard to the fact that sourcing the talents has increasingly become one of the topmost human resource issues. On the other hand, the poorly performing human resource departments will risk reducing the competitive advantage of their organizations.


  1. Managing top talents is HR’s main challenge. (2007). Personnel Today.
  2. Dessler, G. (2011). A Framework for Human Resource Management (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall
  3. Sherriton, J., & Stern,J. (1997). HR’s role in culture change. HR focus.
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