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Challenges and Possible Solutions of Human Resources Management

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In today’s world and economy, businesses are changing, growing and being acquired all around us and it is happening quickly. Consumers, suppliers, and higher up executives are always affected by these changes and movements, but the ones who are often forgotten about and who may be the ones most affected, are the employees. According to a 2019 Harvard Business Review article, one of the most common challenges businesses are having is how to eliminate unhealthy conflict and how to create healthy conflict. Especially in new business environments caused by mergers and buyouts (Snow, 2019). I have the assumption that people are usually afraid and hesitant of conflict because no one wants a hurt ego, confidence breaker or the fear of being fired. Then when you add on the stressors of being under a new organization, management and co-workers it may do the exact opposite and create a flame of arguing and not the type of fire to keep you warm, but a fire that destroys and disables any possible repair.

So, businesses need a way to create a culture of healthy conflict, healthy arguing and supportive cooperativeness. Mergers bring on tough decisions and changes but should be looked at as opportunities to have more heads to combine ideas and strengthen assets, not a problem to deal with conflict. As one of Human Resources top priorities is to keep the organizational efficiency and hold a consistent strategy through employees, this is a very important challenge to be prepared for and to improve on.

Creating a culture or developing a culture is something Human Resources and Human Resources Management go through every day. Companies around the world are consistently using and introducing technology to all reaches of their organization. If any organization is relevant, it probably has a Human Resources Department as well. Across world, the Human Resources Department is extremely diverse and differs from company to company. Could they all have something in common with the possible use of big data and more technology? Would this help or hurt the human part of Human Resources? Big Data is defined as, “Extremely large data sets that may be analyzed through computer software to determine traits and patterns relating to business and human interaction” (Merriam-Webster, 2016). As 2019 gets kicked off, the pressure for creating a positive, creative and strong work culture will continue to fall on the shoulders of Human Resources. Now the question is moving towards how human resources can implement the use of more smart technology under the pressure of their own organization.

In a Harvard Business Review written by Peter Cappelli, he discusses how and what human resources could possibly use Big Data and Technology for. Businesses that use big data are typically dealing with millions, sometimes billions amounts of data in one sample size (Cappelli, 2017). While typical human resources departments only deal with thousands of employees (Cappelli, 2017). This difference in data size presents a very interesting question on if they should even try to use big data at all. How much technology and big data crunching software should a human resources department rely on and how to use it when dealing with humans and how they act and work?

Improving Performance Reviews and Eliminating Bias

Along with the pressure from culture change, conflict resolution and technology implementation, human resources management cannot forget what is most important to the company, the people. As the new year starts off, companies often take advantage of the new year resolutions and start of the new quarter. This is typically when management and human resources come together to do performance reviews for employees. According to an HBR (Mackenzie, 2019) article on the topic of biased and subjective performance reviews, only 15% of woman and 24% of men in a business had confidence their performance review was fair and unbiased (Mackenzie, 2019).

Imagine what the percentage from businesses across the nation would look like under this study. This is not only a Human Resources Management problem but also a companywide problem that needs to be focused on. The question though, how does the manager lose bias and guessing then increase satisfaction as well as gaining purpose of performance reviews? Performance reviews is not only a time to tell employees what they are doing wrong, but an amazing opportunity to boost morale and confidence in your team by appreciating the work they have done the past year. In big businesses there are many different responsibilities, positions and how long people have had those positions for thus there may need to be different types of ways these performance reviews need to be conducted. As 2019 is off to a start, all of these challenges will come up throughout this year and the years to come. How will Human Resources Management be able to increase employee and manager satisfaction, decrease turnover and ultimately assist the company in bearing success for this year and the years to come?

Solutions to the Organizational Conflict

When there are large mergers and buyouts, people will have to leave, work with new people, learn new policies while still creating meaningful and time-consuming work. So obviously, employees through all different levels of the business may be more stressed out than normal, and when people are stressed, emotions tend to rise quickly and may blow up in the wrong situation. As one of human resources most important responsibilities being the work environment the solution should absolutely start with the management of human resources (Snow, 2019). Let it be known, to all employees that the business is ready to help. With a memo or weekly emails in the first 2 quarters of the new merge letting them know that the business understand the stress of the situation and that Human Resources and Position Managers have a very open-door policy to all employees. This policy should be used to deal with newly developed or older conflicts, strategy, and questions about their new roles and responsibilities.

This first tactic is used to take care of conflicts with management before they come up in worktime meetings, design or important projects. The second solution to deal with conflict will be dealt with more on the side of position and lead managers. Human resources management should focus on these types of managers to train and teach on how to become aware of healthy versus unhealthy conflict (Snow, 2019). Most types of conflict among teams come from individuals wanting to persuade that their idea is the better than anyone else’s or the need to look good in front of others (superiors). These types of actions typically bring intellectual dishonesty, which not only leaves the individual eating their own words, but it may send the team into a downfall, quickly (Snow, 2019). This is why it is important to create awareness among team leaders and managers to catch this type of unhealthy conflict and either eliminate it all together or spin it to help the team create healthy conflict. Base lines to keep unhealthy conflict out: Getting our employees to remember they are all on the same team, stick to facts and logic on the current topic, and to listen and respect all members.

During the time of a business merge, employees may become confused on the new work and team environment. With these values being trained to be shown as example calmly through a leader it can restore positivity and confidence in a team’s healthy conflict. While we could attempt to train all employees in conflict awareness, this may bring on resource and budget problems, so narrowing down the population of who to train to the superiors such as managers and team leads can then take this knowledge and teach by using their actions. I believe with the proper training, superiors will be able to be more intellectually honest, humble and open. These types of values can be learned by example, thus employees and subordinates should catch how to act with meetings, team relationships and individual relationships. Which will not only benefit the team but also come full circle to them becoming a better employee.

Solutions to Using Technology and Big Data

One of the major problems and concerns about using big data in Human Resources, is that there is not enough data for it to be “Big” so to speak. Even though this may seem like a large problem on whether this type of software would work correctly in these situations I believe technology is a must for not just Human Resources Departments but all organizations as a whole. We have seen this time and time again, with businesses and their departments wanting to stick to the traditional way of doing things even though there may be an easier, more efficient and maybe even less costly way to do so. This typically ends up in a decrease in productivity or a company falling behind in the industry. Losing competitiveness falls almost directly on the head of Human Resources Management as it is almost a part of their Triple Bottom line as a department to hold their company’s competitiveness high.

So what would be some of the best ways for Human Resources Management to use new analytical technology? I don’t believe we should look too far away from what Human Resources does best, and that is focus on our business’s biggest asset, our people. Human Resources should focus the use of tech on what they know and deal with most, employees. For Big Data to be used successfully there needs to be a large chunk of data. Even though Human Resources typically lacks the numbers to use big data I believe if we look deeper into employee performance to daily tasks and activities, we can understand patterns, downfalls, areas of improvement as well as obtain predictive performance data. For example, we can use big data to evaluate how well bonded teams versus newly put together teams preform daily. Then use this insight to put the right people together in the right environments and increase productivity to the optimal level for that specific department or organization.

Other than using big data, technology in general will always be growing and it’s up to the organization on what type and how to use that technology, instead of letting it go by without taking advantage of it. To keep up the productivity, chemistry and culture of an organization their employee turnover and retention is key absolutely key. When employees are comfortable and less stressed about where they work, this allows them to focus even more on their tasks at hand for their team and company. With 77% of the United States population owning a smart phone, this could be an amazing opportunity for an organization to jump on an intra-communicative native-app (PRI, 2018). This type of software allows employer-employee communication whenever, wherever needed. An app to where employees could take notes, save and hold documents, access payroll, benefits, communicate with other co-workers, managers, and other departments all on one app. This would be a fantastic program for human resources to build to help increase employee satisfaction, communication and influence the organizations culture.

Human resources deal with every angle of an individual business and touches all departments of a business. If any department of a business understands the importance of teamwork, top-down communication and companywide collaboration its human resources. I believe using an app that can bring all employees of an organization together is one of the most beneficial options for every acting party and here is why. This app would bring the relationship of the employer-employee closer than before, allowing the organization to be able to understand and listen to what is going on in their world. Departments as wholes, will be able to have more access to companywide documents than before which will increase productivity and collaboration among departments. Finally, employees will enjoy having all of their work and business needs located on one app on their phone, tablet or computer. Along with this, managers could create individual and team check lists that can lead to benefits or fun rewards. All in all, this app would be an amazing foundation block to bring back the idea of companywide communication with the ultimate goal of employee satisfaction and retention.

Solutions to Improving Performance Reviews for The Employee and Manager

Performance reviews are no joke, nor should they be treated like one. As stated in the beginning challenge portion of this topic, over 39% of employees felt like they had been given an unfair performance review or a review that was given in with a swaying amount of bias (Mackenzie, 2019). Unfortunately, 39% means its happening way to often without being given the focus it deserves. From a human resources management perspective this needs to be held high, almost to the point of top three priorities. Performance reviews gives meaning, appreciation and motivation to employees. This is important for an organizations productivity, success and a chance to lower their rate of turnover.

So, what can human resources do to combat the lack of meaning performance reviews have become? I believe the best option is to become an even better center of excellence among employees and managers, being the middle man in between the two. I would begin on communicating with the mangers on how to create more of a uniform style rubric for their respective department. When a performance review becomes more of a checklist or rubric it removes the possibility of unneeded bias that could sway the employees review. A rubric also gives the manger data and results to look at and review instead of having to pull from memory or playing the guessing game on how an employee did. This will give the employee a crisper understanding on how they are being reviewed and provides a less stressful way of conducting the performance review for the manger.

The next opportunity I have for this specific situation is flipping the roles. Although unconventional and requiring a large amount of change for both manger sand employees, I believe it would be a culture game changer. At the beginning of each quarter, half, or full year (whenever the organizations performance review happens) I recommend creating a rubric from the managers perspective as well as the employee’s perspective. This will allow the employee to understand how they are being measured at the end of the year and gives them a goal/task list to attack every day when they come into work. This targets the motivation and meaning side of their everyday work. Then at the end of the year when it is time for their performance review, the managers will have their rubric out that they created together at the beginning of the year then be able to analyze their performance.

So, while this holds the employee accountable all year to what they need to reach and achieve it also helps the managers as well because they know how they will be able to grade, instead of having to rely on bias and memory. Human Resources being able to help both parties, manager and employee is absolutely key in this situation because performance reviews mean a lot to both. As well as the organization as a whole. This solution opens the communication to where everyone knows the ins and outs of the performance review process. Creating a new process where instead of it being an unknown and nerve-wracking process it becomes a time for appreciation and goal setting for next year.


Human resources management is one of the most important departments within an organization to assist in their ultimate success. As we can see from these three challenges, many things fall on the shoulders of human resources management that can alter the way an organization is run. With real situation examples like the ones in this paper, human resources and human resources management is met with many different conflicts that can either break or make its reputation, culture and success. As the new year of 2019 gets kicked off, the way we can do business is changing everywhere we look. Which means human resources management needs to stay on their toes, consistently scanning our external as well as the internal environments. As we have seen here, all but one of these challenges came from within the company, which may mean most of our problems from a Human Resource Management perspective may tend to be internal. This does not mean we cannot pay attention to the market and world going on around us, as Human Resources is the center for excellence within an organization, and to be excellent we can never stay stagnant.

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