What’s The Biggest Problem Facing HR Today?

Mar 10, 2014 1 Min Read

In HR Talk, we pick one human resources (HR) related topic each week, and gather a few HR experts to share their opinions on it. If you have any questions about the HR industry, send them to us at mystarjob@leaderonomics.com and we will get our panel of experts to answer them.

This week’s topic:

“In your opinion, what is the biggest problem facing HR today?”

SHANKAR NAGALINGAM – Human resources director, South Asia and ANZ, Dell

We aspire to equip leaders with the competency to support regional and global businesses.

This poses as a great challenge for HR as it involves human capital development. We spend endless efforts to discover the best approach to nurture our team members to deliver the best customer experience, to add value and to differentiate ourselves from our peers and competitors.

We not only build capable team members, but also “change champions” and “influential leaders” who are able to innovate and integrate thought process and make the complex simple for the benefit of the customers.

It is part of our HR DNA to accelerate the development of our team members, emphasising on the aptitude to reach greater heights in an ever-changing environment of technological advancements, economic and political influences, and social needs and expectations.

As we move towards a borderless world, HR plays an integral part in building a fluid and adaptive team to create a winning culture. At Dell, HR collaborates with the various business leaders to plan and implement programmes and activities to foster leaders of tomorrow, who are energised to go beyond their own sphere.

SURIAHNI ABDUL HAMID – HR adviser for industry partnerships division, TalentCorp

I think keeping up with the pace of change is the biggest challenge for HR today. As we know, the business environment is changing so rapidly.

On top of that, with the convergence of new technologies, the dynamics of workforce such as multiple generations in organisations and the fact that people are more mobile, contribute to businesses becoming more complex.

Change is never an easy thing. For HR to keep up and stay relevant to the business, we need to adapt and be agile with the changes. By doing this, businesses will continue to look to HR to partner with them to strategically charter the business directions.

What can we do to keep up? For a start HR needs to constantly keep abreast of what’s happening in today’s business environment. We need to understand the current business issues and what they mean for the future.

Another way is to engage with all stakeholders in bringing the understanding of the changes and leverage on them in preparing the people to adapt to the coming changes.

Finally, it would be an added advantage if HR practitioners continue to up-skill themselves by going through certification programmes, as many of these certified bodies are very closely aligned to the current business needs.

ANG HUI MING – Finance and HR lead, Leaderonomics Talent, technology, thinking out of the BOX!


The war for talent is far from over and I believe it still remains the biggest challenge for HR. The painful reality of an employee-driven market is becoming more real everyday. Despite unemployment rates rising everywhere, HR faces the challenge to find “real talent”.

Due to cost cutting measures, rationalisation initiatives, technology advances and automation, the standard for “talent” has been raised so much that “average” just doesn’t cut it.

Every HR recruiter is looking for the best. There is only one headcount and they need to fill it with the candidate with the right skills, right knowledge, right attitude, tech savviness and leadership capability.

I would assume for every exceptional talent out there in the market, there are probably three to four HR recruiters eyeing the same person just in that country itself, not forgetting the global boundariless platform we operate in today.


Coupled with the raised expectations of talent, the talent pool is also shrinking. With the advancement of the internet, anyone can be an entrepreneur with minimal startup capital and risks.

This advancement has seen many talented professionals and fresh graduates leaving the employment market.

Social media has also opened up doors for passive job seekers to be sought out, making retention the other challenge for HR leaders.

Embracing technology as a good buddy would be every HR professional’s challenge. We are expected to hire the best talents at more cost effective methods.

This is where HR professionals need to upskill and truly invest in technology for better processes, for better data analytics and better research to more accurately engage, develop and recruit talents.

Being a social media expert is a skill that has fast become a requirement for HR professionals.

Thinking out of the box:

Just as we expect to hire the best of talents and average doesn’t cut it anymore, the same expectations are placed on HR (especially from the millennial generation today).

HR needs to be “unique” and “innovative” in its strategies to recruit, to develop and to engage its people at every level (and yet remain compliant to all the necessary legalities).

We can learn a lot from organisations who have really taken their people strategies to the next level.

Organisations like Netflix, Infosys, Syntel, Hong Kong Broadband Network, Tata, Google and Zappos have taken HR to the next level and it’s refreshing to see what risks they took and how these paid off.

The onus of being the Employer of Choice sits on the shoulders of all HR leaders, and this is not just a title of an award. It has to be REAL. With the rise of blogging and social media, no longer can any organisation hide under an Employer of Choice award.

Final thoughts:

And the biggest dilemma for HR professionals? It’s our potentially self-fulfilling prophecies. We will be the ones to create the talent-driven market of the future with every move we make today. And then the cycle of challenges continues.

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This article is published by the editors of Leaderonomics.com with the consent of the guest author. 

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