A new HR landscape...

by External22 Feb 2012

HR challenges

HR departments like all areas of a business face the constant challenges of needing to introduce efficiencies so that they can achieve more with limited resources. A recent major study¹ published by

ADPES International that surveyed 2,642 HR professionals from Australia, Europe, and China detailed the major challenges faced by the industry in the areas of talent management, cost saving and improving HR performance.

In Australia the HR professionals surveyed were asked to list their most important challenges, issues or problems. ‘Hiring qualified people/difficulties filling key employee positions’ was the number one concern cited by 41%, compared to 33% who mentioned ‘developing managers and employees with high potential’ and 32% ‘problems retaining qualified people’. A close fourth was ‘creating a performance-driven culture’.

Factors to consider in talent management

It is obvious from the results above that the major HR concerns start and end with the recruitment, retention and development of qualified people. But given the uncertain economic environment, the question may well be asked – shouldn’t there be an abundance of qualified candidates? Following are some factors that HR professionals need to consider:

  • The ageing workforce – as experienced Baby Boomers retire, there are too few younger people to take their place
  • Growth of the knowledge economy – the move from manufacturing to knowledge-based industries has been a major factor in creating the talent war
  • Changing attitudes of younger people – a  new generation of high potential young people are looking for a rewarding lifestyle (work-life balance) rather than a long-term career in one organisation

Data from a 2009 recruitment report comments that appointing people with potential is the most popular way of tackling recruitment problems – and the most effective recruitment initiative was deemed to be providing extra training to allow internal staff to fill posts.

Finding better solutions

Time pressure is one of the biggest barriers to tackling the talent management challenges. Looking for smarter solutions and slicker processes that introduce efficiencies that save you time and provide better workforce data could be the answer.

Automation is the most popular solution to the talent management challenge, with 40% of HR executives considering this solution to their challenges in the next 1-2 years. In addition, 33% favoured delegating more HR tasks to managers and/or employees and 30% cited engaging external consultants.

Given these results, 2012 could be a great time to consider the latest integrated HR management systems that streamline and automate key HR processes. Following are important questions to consider when assessing your options for an HR management system:

  • Is it an integrated HR system where you can manage the entire employee lifecycle in one central database?
  • Is the HR system built using a powerful workflow engine?
  • Can your workflows be configured to your business processes, enabling you to align industry best practice with your organisation’s standards?
  • Is the system easy to use, configurable and flexible to your organisation’s size, culture and processes?
  • Do you have access to a client support team?
  • What about data integrity and reporting?
  • Is there an employee and manager self-service function?
  • Do you have the option for e-Recruitment to assist with the management of job vacancies, applications and candidates?

 More time for strategic planning

An effective HR management system can revolutionise the way you manage your HR function. By introducing a system that will automate key HR processes, improve workforce data and reduce administrative duplication, the improved efficiencies will allow you to focus more on HR strategic issues and adding value to your business. Access to departmental HR reports gives managers the added benefit of making management decisions with realtime employee information. A flow-on benefit is a happier HR department – organisations where HR plays an active role in the business and those where HR is a component of the strategic plan enjoy 15% higher levels of satisfaction with the HR function.³

By introducing an integrated HR management solution, you can better utilise your staff’s core skills, leading to a more productive HR function with higher levels of staff engagement and job satisfaction. In turn this allows HR to move to a higher plane in terms of its contribution to the corporate strategy –

it’s a win-win situation and will give your organisation a competitive edge.


About the author

Richard Watson is Managing Director of ADP Australia/New Zealand. Email information@au.adp.com or call 1800 000 729.