Top Challenges Faced by HR Professionals in 2019

challenges faced by hr professionals

Human Resources is the heartbeat of every company. In fact, in recent years the role of the HR professional has changed drastically. The ever-changing landscape of the workplace demands attention, education, and inclusion. With transformations in government, culture, technology, and communications, the legal impact can be a challenge for employers. The growing emphasis on paid leave, pay equality, and sexual harassment are just some of the challenges faced by HR professionals in today’s modern workplace. 

Astute HR directors prepare teams, departments, and personnel to proactively prepare for potential challenges that can affect employees. With HR planning and development, a focus on human capital can help achieve a balanced workforce. As for HR professionals this year, the top challenges include:


A diverse workforce is more than race, ethnicity, sex, age, national origin, and religion. It encompasses work experiences, educational status, marital status, socioeconomic status along with life experience and background. Employees must feel valued and respected by senior staff.  An inclusive and tolerant environment is now the new normal. Starting with senior management, diversity starts at the top and allows executives to strategize on ways to use diversity efforts to accomplish goals in a manner employees find meaningful. 


Employees want to feel safe at work.  It is important to find effective ways to build a positive corporate culture. While OSHA requires companies to provide a workplace free from harm or hazards, it is virtually impossible to predict violent acts that can cause death or serious harm. However, to address the challenge of irrational behaviors like acts of violence or threats of harm, companies should conduct a needs assessment of the organization to confirm proper policies, practices, and procedures are in place. The employers’ ability to plan and respond to a crisis is critical to the overall safety of everyone on the premises. A business continuity plan can address things like natural disasters, data recovery, and most importantly the safety and well being of the employees affected. 

Drug Use

Headlines dominate the news about drug abuse every day. These days employers can set and enforce a drug-free workplace. With opioid addiction on the rise, employers can also prohibit misuse of prescription drugs that are otherwise lawful to use. In recent years, more and more states have legalized cannabis for medical and recreational use and HR managers in those states must re-evaluate drug policies as laws change.


Cloud-based systems are necessary for businesses to store and share data. To keep private and confidential data safe, HR managers must coordinate with IT to establish channels of access and clearance for various levels of staff to reach only the data specific to their task or role. For an added layer of security, employers should request all third-party vendors, partners, and contractors to take similar steps to restrict access to sensitive data within their organizations. 


Every state has different laws that govern how companies can hire, fire, pay, and train employees. For example, recent legislation across the country has put into motion plans to increase the minimum wage over the next few years. To be ready, HR professionals must constantly monitor old and new laws to stay on top of compliance at state and local levels. As for federal changes, HR must stay vigilant and watch for developments in things like the future of healthcare, discriminatory practices, and training on harassment, inclusion, and tolerance.

As long as our social culture continues to evolve, the challenges faced by HR professionals must reflect those events and stand ready to implement changes as needed. Employees want to feel safe, appreciated, and included and HR is the heartbeat that makes it all come together. 

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