Human Capital Challenges: 10 Things Recruiters Should Be Ready For

Human Capital Challenges: 10 Things Recruiters Should Be Ready For

Emily Smykal

Recruiters are already immersed in human capital, and they know that success in business relies on a talented workforce. Increasingly, leaders from within HR and the entire C-suite recognize the human capital challenges they face in today’s economy. Retention, employee engagement, attractive benefits and compensation are just a few of the issues organizations deal with as they prioritize human capital.

But which human capital challenges specifically should recruiters focus on the most? The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) surveyed HR professionals to find out which human capital issues are considered most important now, and which will become more pressing in the next decade. It will be crucial for recruiters and their HR leaders to convey the urgency of these human capital challenges to their colleagues in the C-suite, to make sure they don’t become even more formidable in the future.

The SHRM survey asked, “What Are Your Organization’s Greatest Human Capital Challenges?” HR professionals rated each topic based on its difficulty now, and its expected difficulty in the next 10 years:

1. Maintaining high levels of employee engagement

38% now, 20% in the next 10 years

Employee engagement was the most common choice among HR professionals, and it’s not a surprise. Engaged, happy employees lead to higher retention rates and productivity, and they’ll give your employer brand a boost.

2. Developing the next generation of organizational leaders

31% now, 39% in the next 10 years

This was actually the most popular choice among human capital challenges coming in the next decade. An aging workforce with coming waves of retirement, combined with larger demographic changes, mean recruiters already have an eye towards nurturing leaders to replace those who will soon be leaving.

3. Maintaining competitive compensation offerings

29% now, 24% in the next 10 years

Aggressive compensation meant to attract top talent ahead of other employers has always been an issue for recruiters, even if it’s not the only thing candidates look for in a job. And it requires serious, realistic conversations with the executive team, as many recruiters do not get to make the final decision when it comes to the salary they can offer.

4. Retaining our highest-performing employees

26% now, 23% in the next 10 years

HR professionals undoubtedly want to retain as many employees as possible, but the best performing ones are attracting the most concern. A quality employee can be difficult to find, or measure, but once they’re in place many recruiters recognize the need to keep them on board.

5. Retaining employees overall

25% now, 16% in the next 10 years

Retention is a very real human capital problem in any industry. But HR professionals are especially aware of the costs of high employee turnover, and the benefits of better retainment strategies. Plus, keeping more of your employees now and over the long term leads to less work for recruiters.

6. Finding employees with increasingly specialized skills

24% now, 20% in the next 10 years

In case you missed it, we’re in the midst of a skills shortage. HR professionals have come to realize they need to stay on top of the skills that are most in demand, and implement strategies to recruit or train workers for those jobs. Competition for these workers will only get worse unless leaders within HR and beyond admit they need to tackle skills gaps together.

7. Maintaining competitive benefits offerings

24% now, 26% in the next 10 years

While competitive compensation may seem like a more pressing human capital challenge, other benefits are also important. Some HR professionals even see this as a bigger future challenge than salaries. This may in part be due to the expanding array of benefits some companies now offer, like quirky office spaces and greater access to high-level meetings.

8. Remaining competitive in the talent marketplace

20% now, 16% in the next 10 years

HR professionals aren’t just worried about retaining talent, they’re also concerned about attracting it in the first place. Another long-standing human capital challenge, enticing the best candidates will always be an issue. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be managed effectively. Many talent acquisition teams are already embracing the new technologies and consumer-driven strategies that appeal to today’s applicants.

9. Managing change due to shifting business strategies or market volatility

18% now, 16% in the next 10 years

It’s rare to find an organization that has not had to adapt in some way to industry shifts or economic changes. But from an HR perspective, this is just another human capital issue. Whether your company’s business model is being revamped, or larger market forces are altering your workforce, it’s likely you’ll need to adjust your talent acquisition and employee engagement methods now and in the years to come.

10. Creating a collaborative corporate culture

17% now, 14% in the next 10 years

This is one human capital challenge that seems to have shifted in recent years. HR professionals used to focus on corporate cultures that matched the norms of their existing workforce, sourcing candidates who “fit in.” But just like the technological and demographic changes they face, recruiters also pay more attention now to developing an internal culture that benefits everyone–where collaboration is company-wide.

The largest working population is now comprised of millennials. Check out our latest guide: 5 Quick Tips for Hiring Millennials for everything you need to know about attracting and recruiting this generation:

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