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Challenges Within Human Resources

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The traditional administrative role of human resource practices are a thing of the past and new roles for human resources management (HRM) are emerging at an alarming rate in the 21st century. Human resources is increasing its support for business goals and objectives while at the same time becoming strategic business partners within the organization. Challenges for the 21st century include: changing roles, shifting demographics, and globalization. In order for them to stay current they must adapt and make necessary in retraining, alternative work schedules and technological advancements.

Challenges within Human Resources

With the 21st century in motion human resource management will face some of the old struggles and HR will be forced to face many new challenges. The main objective of HR is to recruit, retain, train, retrain and keep workers satisfied. Without a doubt, these responsibilities can be challenging in the 21st century, especially with changing roles, a multi-generational workforce, and globalization.

Changing Roles. Traditionally, HR has been an administrative position—processing paperwork, benefits, hiring and firing, and compensation. However, recently human resources has moved from a traditional to a strategic role. Before, HR was seen as the enemy and employees believed that HR’s main purpose was to protect management. Now, the position requires HR to be more people oriented and protect their human capitol, the staff. In addition, human resource management has to be business savvy and think of themselves as strategic partners in the 21st century.

Multi-generational workforce. Another major challenge human resources department’s face in the 21st century is multiple generations of diversified workers in a single work environment. The challenge for HRM will be satisfying the different needs and expectations of the multi-generational employees.

Baby Boomers normally worked for a single organization their entire lives. Older employees on average exemplify amazing work ethics and show a remarkable amount of loyalty to their organization. The younger generations in the workforce, like Generation X and Y tend to change employees frequently, especially when the job does not incorporate work-life balance or development and learning opportunities.

Generation Xers are looking for freedom from supervision and individuality. Similarly, Generation Yers are seeking independence and employee empowerment. With Baby Boomers entering retirement and the younger generations entering the workforce it makes it difficult for human resource management to recruit and retain talented employees in the 21st century.

Globalization. As we enter into the 21st century global business is becoming more prevalent, causing globalization to be a leading challenge for human resource management. Globalization has brought nations from all over the world together into one community interconnected by advanced communications technology, the virtual office. This emphasizes the need to manage human resources effectively to gain a competitive advantage. Furthermore, as businesses cross multinational boundaries HR will face challenges of managing people with different religious, cultural, political, and moral backgrounds.

How will human resources stay current with changes

Human resource management will need to be retrained as strategic business partners of the organization. “For the HRM function to truly contribute strategically to firm effectiveness, the senior HR person must be a part of the top management team (reporting directly to the chief executive officer), and there must be a different structural arrangement within the function itself” (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright). In addition, shifting demographics will require HR to retrain the older generations and attract younger generations.

While HR policies and procedures will continue as nonhierarchical HR functions, far more important will be the innovation and flexibility required to achieve and sustain employer-of-choice status. In light of the significant variations among generations and age groups, the HR practitioner will require know-how and insight when it comes to incentivizing, training, and creating customizable compensation packages. Making meaningful connections with each group will be critical for attraction, retention, and organizational productivity (“The Next Decade of HR”



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