#SHRM22: The Biggest Challenges of HR (and their Solutions)

Like many departments, HR is currently undergoing a huge transformation. Luckily, SHRM22 is around the corner to help you navigate the uncertainty. There you will be able to connect with professionals you can call on for help in the future, get inspired by the leading minds in HR and business, and learn new methods for addressing the biggest challenges in HR and the workplace.

Though the future of work is bound to bring many challenges, below I’ve identified three that seem to be the most pressing when it comes to HR. But don’t worry, I have also provided some tangible solutions to tackle these issues. The issues and solutions were derived from an interview I recently conducted with Erica Young and Joe Ziska. To dive deeper into these challenges, make sure to check out their session at this years SHRM22 on Monday June 13th, from 3:30-4:30 Central Time entitled How BMW Leverages Emerging Technology for People and Talent Needs. 

Let’s get started with the first challenge facing HR….

  1. People are craving work-life balance - Many people experienced a shift in the way they conducted work during the pandemic. There was a huge uptick in the amount of folks who began working from home. Zoom meetings turned out to be a comparable alternative to in-person meetings. And folks no longer had to waste part of their day commuting. This meant that they finally experienced what it was like to have a good work-life balance. An added bonus was that they could wear pajama bottoms all day long. As folks are returning to the office, companies are finding out that it’s not so easy to keep and attract top talent using the same rigid work protocol they were using pre-pandemic.


In some industries, such as manufacturing, it’s harder to just allow folks to work from home. That’s why you need to get HR involved in conversations NOW about how their organization might change in the future. Get them brainstorming NOW about ways to satisfy this work/life balance desire. Assign “digitalization pioneers” NOW and have them research potential new technologies that might help the workforce have a better work/life balance. Doing so will ensure that your organization is ready for whatever shift may be coming in the future, that your current workforce is satisfied with their work/life balance and that you stand a chance when it comes to attracting new talent.

2. People are Apprehensive of New Technology - People are afraid of what they don’t understand. If you take time to educate HR on the benefits that technology can bring, and then give them ownership over the new technologies that are implemented, however, they won’t be fearful anymore. Who knows, they might even be excited!


Get HR involved in the strategic conversations as early as possible. That way they’ll have less apprehension as certain technologies becomes available. This is far easier that trying to convince HR to adopt an already existing technology. In other words, be more proactive. Stay engaged and abreast about what’s happening in the space. Encourage members of HR serve on an advisory board of a startup so they can begin to get a feel for what’s coming. Joe Ziska, Manager, HR Planning & Steering , BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC,  likened the process of adopting new technology to getting in to a pool. Whether you carefully move into the pool inch by inch, or you cannon ball your way in, just make sure you GET IN. BMW assigns Digitalization Pioneers who identify emerging technology opportunities and then do agile concepts and pilots to determine if they would benefit BMW. This is a great way to get HR feeling empowered vs. apprehensive about upcoming changes.

3. Employee Retention - In every industry across the board, top talent is moving on and it’s becoming increasingly harder to find qualified people who want to work.


Start collecting data on your current employees to see if they feel like they belong at your organization. For example, BMW began collecting data on whether or not their employees had a close friend at work. The reason was because research shows when someone has a close friend at work, they feel a sense of belonging to the organization. Therefore, BMW tracked whether or not employees were clocking in or out with another person. After 90 days of hiring an individual, however, and they were never seen clocking in or out with someone, management was able to intervene and either assign them a mentor or get them involved in a team project as a way to ignite work friendships. If you don’t have the budget to begin tracking employees, you could also just make it a point that you provide opportunities to your employees that encourage bonding beyond just completing tasks related to the organization.

Would you add any other challenges to the list?

And if you haven’t yet, make sure to register for SHRM22 happening June 12-15 in New Orleans, LA.


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