5 HR Challenges Every Recruiter Will Try To Solve In 2020

By Pankaj Deshmukh

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Let’s say it out loud – HR has changed and given the complex dynamics of a constantly shifting work environment, this job function is only getting harder. 

From handling baby boomers to Gen Z, HR has to now work with a multi-generation workforce. Then there are the dynamics of remote and dispersed teams, evolving demands for new skills, tight labor markets, growing focus on employee engagement, and company culture…the list keeps growing. 

To say that HR has become a veritable minefield will not be an understatement. In this blog, I evaluate some of the key challenges that HR faces today and some resolutions for the same.

Resource optimization and time management 

Like every other department, HR also has to work very hard to solve its resource and time management challenges. 

With stepped-up competition for talent, this department spends large amounts of time to address the hiring needs of the organization. Scanning through resumes, shortlisting the right candidates, setting up interviews with the right stakeholders by itself takes time. And then more often than not, the candidates who appear for the interview are not up to the expected standards. 

This almost looks like a process designed to augur wastefulness. HR managers have to now work towards increasing their team efficiencies and ensuring that there is no time wasted to drive recruitment processes. In a traditional campus recruitment process, for example, we spend an average of 12 hours. Out of this, approximately 5 hours are spent manually shortlisting candidates and the remaining 7 hours are spent on personal interviews! And after all these efforts, we often don’t even get the right person for the job. What a frustrating waste of time and resources!

I feel HR managers need to optimize their time and resource management and make their recruitment process pre-assessment driven. Utilizing comprehensive pre-hire assessments, HR teams and recruitment managers can filter out the irrelevant candidates and spend time on those who meet all the job parameters.

Focusing a strong brand identity/ employer branding

Who is talking about employee experience and employee engagement today? You’re right; everyone is!

The conversations around these two factors are only growing louder. The reason? Engaged employees are more productive at work, and engaged teams show 21% greater profitability than disengaged ones. 

However, employee engagement starts earlier than you think. Companies today are focused on making employee engagement central to their organization. A good engagement program is one that is integrated across the entire employment lifecycle…and this lifecycle begins with recruitment. Creating an amazing brand experience becomes a must! 

From your assessment tests, which are the starting point of engagement to candidate experience, how you navigate this space will define how the candidate will form an opinion of your company. Long and boring tests, for example, will make you look dated in the eyes of a millennial candidate. Take candidate feedback post the test proactively and look like an employee-focused and proactive company. Don’t rely on claims about candidate experience- evaluate it based on feedback, data, and analytics. 

Identifying the need for reskilling & upskilling of existing resources

Digital transformation has taken center stage. Cutting edge technologies such as AI, IoT, Big Data, cloud computing, etc. are becoming increasingly mainstream. With this comes the disruption of traditional skills and a large skills gap. Reports show that by 2020, more than “a third of the desired core skill sets of most occupations will comprise of skills that are not yet considered crucial for the job today”. Along with this, there is the concern of the short shelf life of technologies which is reduced to mere months now. 

Having to do more with less has become the new-age mantra, and HR is no different. Even in the midst of changing skills, you cannot let go of all your resources and constantly hire new ones to mitigate this skills crunch. 

Reskilling and upskilling thus rank high up on the priority lists of organizations navigating this challenge. But how can you ensure your reskilling and upskilling initiatives are successful? How can you determine if the learning initiatives you implement are optimal? How can you assess if your workforce has been reskilled enough to know the tactical and practical implementations of the topic?

Robust skill assessment tests help alleviate this problem to a great extent. You can evaluate your workforce capabilities by creating customized assessment tests that comprehensively cover the subject and its applications, cognitive and analytical capabilities. Based on that, you can get data-driven insights into job-readiness and also the areas of improvement. With this information, you can streamline your tests and training initiatives for better outcomes.

Removing ‘guesstimates’ to make a data-driven decision-

Organizations are becoming increasingly data-driven in their decision making. So why the HR department should still be relegated to the proverbial guesstimate when removing the wheat from the chaff?

Hiring the right candidate for an organization is a job of extreme responsibility. Research shows that the average cost of replacing an employee amounts to 33% of their annual salary. Now keep adding such costs, and you have a staggering amount staring back at you. 

Making sure that your new hire is the right fit for the organization has never been more important in the day of escalating competition and a shrinking talent pool.

But to achieve that you have to take the guesswork out of your hiring decisions? After all, almost 50% of candidates misrepresent, and 30% lie blatantly in their resumes! How can the ‘gut-feel’ even work in such an environment? And then there is the challenge of creating a diverse team without biases.

A good way to mitigate this challenge is by leveraging an AI-based talent assessment tool that can help you customize your tests and make them robust enough to suit your needs. For example, if you have to hire for customer-focused teams, base your candidate excellence on assessments that are based on unique situational judgment frameworks, to get a clear idea about the candidates’ capabilities. 

Navigating the digital 2.0 workforce challenge 

With a growing focus on digital transformation, strengthening applications of technologies such as AI and IoT, an increasing range of technologies and technology applications, rapidly evolving job roles, navigating the digital 2.0 workforce challenge is like a tall order. 

To make the right hiring decisions, HR teams often turn towards Subject Matter Experts or SME’s to create their skill assessment tests. After all, who better than the SME to tailor-make your tests, right? But given this pace of change, can we even call the SME’s the ‘expert’? 

Assessment tests have to be comprehensive, detailed, personalized and have to be constantly updated. Added to that is the fact that assessment tests not only have to be topic relevant but also have to factor in nuances that are highly relevant to specific job roles. These tests have to be tough, impossible to manipulate, of high quality and more often than not, have to be created fast. Relying on internal resources who already have their share of things to do is unfair and un-pragmatic. 

You can, instead, leverage a robust skills assessment platform that helps your team to curate tests from global subject matter experts with the right profiles. Through such platforms, you also gain access to a comprehensive skills library, along with intuitive analytics and reporting, to reduce candidate filtration time. The result? There’s no guesswork in your hiring decisions, and you have a workforce with a host of next-gen skills.

We can only manage what we can measure. This rule does not change with HR. I feel it is time to give HR the upgrade it needs so that they can spend their time nurturing their workforce and not running from pillar to post undoing the damage done due to bad hiring decisions. 

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