What are the biggest challenges faced by HR consultancy businesses?


Any business will face challenges and HR consultancies are no different. Some of these challenges are common across different industries, others are more specifically related to HR.

But which are the main challenges facing HR professionals and more importantly, how can you resolve them?

Attracting talent

Finding talent to fill key roles is tougher than ever before, competition is high for the best people suitable for the role. This, combined with a low unemployment rate and various skills shortages, is making recruitment one of the biggest headaches facing HR professionals.

This is further highlighted by a growing trend amongst the most talented professionals – they no longer apply for jobs explicitly, but they will build a personal and professional network and look for opportunities. For HR experts this makes recruitment more difficult, they must now actively look for potential recruits and engage with them using social data.

Improving employee experience

As any HR professional worth their salt knows, efforts to charm don’t stop once a new employee has joined a business. Ensuring employees have a good experience is critical to the success of any business and it begins even before their first day, during the onboarding process and beyond.

Workers are savvier than ever before and expect much more from a role than just a salary. They want an attractive compensation and benefits, the chance to develop, training opportunities and a great working environment. As an HR professional it’s part of your remit to create and deliver those initiatives, ensuring talented staff members are not lured away by companies with more to offer.

Digital change in the workplace

Technology is moving at a terrific pace and changing every facet of the HR business. From online HR software - helping to record employee hours, work patterns and holiday requests - to performance monitoring and reward systems. Businesses are having to adapt very quickly to keep up with the pace of change.

However, there is a danger that HR departments and businesses are becoming too reliant on technology and assume it will solve every problem they face. But whilst HR software has various helpful features, the software is unable to create strategy plans or manage work place culture.

In addition, the General Data Protection Regulations which came into force earlier this year, have changed the way companies handle data. As HR consultancies handle huge amounts of sensitive and personal data, there will be challenges in how the data is collected and stored.

Evidence-based HR

There has been a gradual drive towards evidence-based HR in recent years, with decisions being made on metrics and analysed data rather than instinct. Although this isn’t necessarily a bad thing as HR professionals are now able to make more informed decisions and perform their activities with maximum impact.

However, while there is an increasing need for evidence-based HR and the understanding neuroscience can bring to the industry, HR professionals should be wary of dismissing things out of hand simply because they don’t fit with the evidence.

How do I overcome these challenges?

Overcoming the issues HR professionals presently face is certainly possible. Technology can help to mitigate some of the effects of changes to recruitment. There is now software available which enables recruiters to hold video conferences - rather than face-to-face interviews - and smart applications which remove unsuitable/unqualified candidates before they reach the interview stage.

Chatbots are also becoming more prevalent and can help to answer candidate questions, schedule interviews and even conduct initial interviews. This allows HR consultants time to concentrate on the strategic side of the business – planning where to look for talent, how to acquire talented staff and the policies needed to retain them, ensuring a positive employee experience.

Technology is not only helping to automate the mundane and time-consuming parts of the recruitment process, but it is also having a positive effect on how data is stored and on evidence-based HR.

Online cloud software makes it very easy for companies to securely store employee data and keep a record of employee hours, company policies, activities, appraisals and so on. By using such software, HR professionals can create an evidential picture to help inform future decisions.

Finally, advances in technology are also helping to improve employee experience. Employee satisfaction surveys and career development planning tools are providing the extra input staff now expect from their employer. Using these tools enables HR consultants to be more proactive when it comes to keeping top-performing talent happy.

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