Earlier this year I conducted Market Research on HR activities within small (5-220 employees), STEM-related companies. Of the 26 people I contacted, 19 agreed to participate. Thank you again to those who so graciously gave of their time and feedback.
Based on topic frequency, here are the highlights of the most prominent HR challenges that surfaced during the interviews:
- Legal and HR Compliance: not having policies, procedures or employee handbook in place; not having a dedicated HR professional to manage HR, specifically legal and compliance challenges like counseling and terminations; had to hire an attorney to address workplace challenges; employees need to understand policies and procedures; need HR and Zero Harassment and Discrimination training for managers and employees; requires lots of legwork and research and still not 100% confident HR-related issues are resolved appropriately; HR needs to know employee rights and labor laws
- Talent Development: employee training and development is not available, is self-directed or via OJT only; employees/management need social skills training; need to assign mentors and provide employees clear career paths; employees are book/tech smart but not people smart; leaders have no time to train people; need to establish a training manual and milestones; training accountability is left to employees; need business acumen training for employees; managers are required to develop themselves; no time for training because we’re busy doing engineering work
- Recruiting and Retention: lots of competition; hard to keep employees from going to big companies; hard to find and vet the right talent w/right skills or clearances; need a recruiting budget; other companies steal employees; need a longer runway for recruiting and onboarding to meet client needs
- Performance Management: need to incorporate continuous (weekly, monthly, quarterly) feedback into annual reviews; management needs to take employees offsite for 1-on-1 feedbacks to develop relationship; tenured employees do not think the same rules apply to them since they have been with company long time; feedback must be near-real time; managers need to understand and apply progressive discipline;
- Managing Change: because of traditional approach to management and HR when change occurs it causes stress and resistance especially for tenured employees (easier to stay the same, but impedes growth); leadership must effectively communicate changes to employees and why they are taking place; high-turnover because of growth and operational demands; change caused need for skills development and business acumen training
- Onboarding: not sustainable without HR role; it doesn’t exist; needs to be streamlined/improved; takes 2 months to get employees spun up; rapid growth makes onboarding challenging
- No Time: to develop employees; no time for strategic planning; not enough time to do everything in HR (capacity issue); President doesn’t have time for HR, but is final decision maker on employees issues (slows down the process); no time to address HR issues (we’re engineers not HR)
- Strategic HR Planning: lack of strategic perspective, focus is on daily ops; must train employees to keep eye on big picture and communicate organizational priorities; need to build plans to meet and measure successfully accomplishment of objectives; HR is reactive; need to better define needs and alignment with overall company strategy
- Employee Engagement: leadership has created disengaged, disenchanted employees; how do we get employees excited about their work when they feel broken?; how do you establish cohesion and make employees feel loved?
I’m sure these resonate with many of you, so as you move into the final quarter of the calendar year and are strategically planning to allocate resources in 2018 to address these challenges, keep HRSS Consulting Group in mind. We specialize in Organizational Development which focuses on solutions for most of these concerns. Learn more about what we do at our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgvxPAJl0YrnVERDXYvluUA.
We look forward to an opportunity to serve and demonstrate how we can positively impact your company’s productivity and performance. Happier Employees = Positive ROI