Navigating Common HR Challenges in the Modern Workplace

Working in human resources isn’t easy. Common HR issues have been exasperated by the rollercoaster of the past few years with new working models, economic uncertainty and redundancies.

HR leaders have to navigate tight labor markets, overcome low employee retention, ensure competitive benefits offerings and juggle hybrid, remote and return-to-office setups. All this while keeping employee engagement and holistic wellness in the workplace at the forefront.


41% of HR leaders say employees’ connection to culture is compromised by hybrid work.



66% of employees say a hybrid work schedule is the perfect model.



47% of HR professionals say they don’t know how to drive organizational change to build a desirable culture.



26% of employee respondents said they were likely to change jobs in the next 12 months.


Despite these challenges, right now is a pivotal moment of opportunity – a time to foster innovation, engagement and more positive, inclusive workplace culture. Organizations across industries are increasingly focused on building people-centric cultures to combat rising levels of burnout and disengagement.  

Navigating the challenges and opportunities of the modern workplace requires new HR strategies and updated approaches. 

Attracting and Retaining Employees

The economic dynamics right now, including rising consumer debt and escalating interest rates, are putting a strain on employees across the country. Against this backdrop of financial pressures and the mounting cost of living, many people are reassessing their employment situations. 

If an employee thinks they can get a better offer elsewhere, they will start actively looking to change jobs.

More than a quarter of employees surveyed by PwC said they are likely to change jobs in the next year – that’s a jump up to 26% in 2024 compared to 19% in 2022. Among younger employees, the desire to change jobs is even more pronounced with 35% of Gen Z and 31% of Millennial survey respondents saying they planned to change jobs.

Monetary compensation is a big part of attracting and retaining qualified candidates, but it’s not the only factor that matters in talent management.

happy group at work

Improve Employee Retention and Reduce Turnover With:

  • A rewards and recognition program that ensures all employees feel valued.
  •  “Total compensation” which includes better work-life balance, flexibility, wellness benefits and other perks. 
  • Learning and professional development opportunities.
  • An engaging, positive work environment and company culture.

High turnover rates disrupt productivity, damage morale and can lead to significant costs for recruitment and training replacements, making it well worth the investment to prioritize retention.  

5 Retention Strategies To Keep Your Best Talent

Employee Relations and Conflict Management

In every workplace, employee relations and conflict management are integral components of maintaining a harmonious and productive environment. However, various challenges often arise between manager-employee relationships and peer-to-peer relationships, which require proactive strategies for resolution and mediation.

Managing conflicts in the workplace can be complex, particularly when emotions run high or when disputes involve multiple parties. HR managers and leaders often face challenges in identifying the root causes of conflicts, navigating power dynamics and fostering open communication channels to facilitate resolution.

Be intentional about fostering a safe work environment, with open discussions and company policies about how interpersonal conflicts should be handled. Actively listen during discussions to ensure that everyone's voice is heard and respected, with opportunities for feedback throughout the process. Address concerns in a timely manner and offer resources for employees.

Communicating Difficult Decisions to Employees

Sometimes, organizations face the daunting task of communicating difficult decisions to their employees. And during these times, the task falls on the HR department to lead the conversation and guide managers in one-to-one dialogues.

Whether it's announcing layoffs, implementing performance improvement plans or introducing changes in leadership or workplace policies like return-to-work, effective communication is essential. 

HR meeting

Guidelines for the Management Team and Crisis Communication:

  1. Always approach conversations with empathy and sensitivity.
  2. Start by acknowledging the impact of the decision on employees.
  3. Express genuine gratitude for their contributions to the organization.
  4. Provide clear information about the reasons behind the difficult decision. 
  5. Offer support and resources where appropriate. 
  6. Reassure employees of the organization's support throughout any upcoming transition.
  7. Encourage open dialogue and offer opportunities for employees to ask questions and express their concerns through appropriate feedback channels.

By approaching these conversations with empathy, clarity and transparency, the HR team and leaders can effectively communicate difficult decisions while maintaining trust and employee morale within the organization.

Employee Training and Development

Employee turnover has been such a pressing issue in recent years that some organizations have prioritized recruitment and onboarding over internal professional development. 

The problem with this approach, however, is that overlooking ongoing employee development can exacerbate turnover. When employees have clear career paths and meaningful opportunities for skill development, they are more likely to stay with their current employer. 

Empowering employees to strengthen existing skills and acquire new ones is paramount for retention, not to mention the benefits it has on overall performance, productivity, health and safety.


Improve Ongoing Training and Meet Employee Needs By:

  • Conducting thorough needs assessments to identify skill gaps and training priorities.
  • Encouraging managers to evaluate team members' current skill sets and work to establish clear career paths within the organization.
  •  Leveraging technology-enabled learning platforms and interactive training methods.
  • Expanding or implementing mentorship programs to facilitate knowledge transfer and skill development.
  • Providing opportunities for ongoing feedback and evaluation to allow for continuous improvement.

Providing employees with a roadmap for progression that aligns with their goals fosters a sense of purpose and commitment to the organization that benefits everyone.


Remote Work and Flexible Arrangements

The rise of remote work and flexible arrangements in the post-COVID world has transformed the traditional workplace landscape, offering employees greater autonomy and work-life balance while enabling organizations to tap into talent from diverse geographical locations. However, with these benefits come unique challenges in managing remote teams and maintaining productivity.

Despite the return-to-work movement at some companies – with 90% of companies planning to implement a kind of return-to-office initiative by the end of 2024 – the hybrid work model isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Location flexibility is one of the highest ranked perks on employees’ wishlists. According to Prudential’s Pulse of the American Worker Survey, 87% of people want to work from home at least one day per week and 66% say a hybrid work schedule is the perfect model.

man working from home

Without face-to-face interaction, though, maintaining team cohesion and fostering a sense of belonging can be challenging. Managing dispersed teams requires a shift in leadership style, emphasizing trust, accountability and results-driven performance management.

These strategies can help set up your organization for success:

  • Tap into the power of the latest technology for seamless communication, project management and recognition programs. 
  • Update HR policies and practices to accommodate remote work and flexible scheduling.
  • Set clear expectations and goals for remote employees, focusing on results-driven performance.
  • Offer training and development opportunities tailored to the needs of remote employees to support their growth and career advancement.
  • Recognize and celebrate achievements and milestones to reinforce a sense of belonging and shared purpose.
in-office and& virtual meeting

Creating a sustainable hybrid work model benefits employees and employers alike, but it requires a shift in culture. Expressing gratitude and providing recognition, actively listening to feedback, conducting regular check-ins and utilizing digital platforms are all the more important in a workplace with dispersed employees.

Workplace Diversity and Inclusion

Workplaces have seen tremendous progression in diversity, inclusion and equity efforts in recent decades. The fact that DEI continues to be a top priority for HR departments and employees alike points to the reality that not only that there is still work to be done, but also just how important this topic is. 

According to research from LinkedIn, 80% of jobseekers say they want to work for a company that values DEI.

By prioritizing diversity and inclusion, HR professionals can create workplaces where everyone feels valued and empowered to contribute their best. This both benefits individual employees and drives overall organizational success: that same LinkedIn research found that inclusive teams are 35% more productive and diverse groups make better decisions 87% of the time. 


Focus Areas for HR Teams Include:


Training and Education

Provide diversity training to raise awareness of unconscious bias and promote inclusive behaviors.

executive meeting

Leadership Commitment

Gain buy-in from leadership and ensure they actively support DEI initiatives.


Inclusive Hiring Process

Implement practices that help you hire from a wide talent pool, such as removing identification details from candidates' resumes and having diverse interview panels.

small group

Employee Resource Groups

Establish ERGs to provide support and advocacy for underrepresented groups, bringing in non-managerial employees as DEI sponsors to ensure representation and engagement at all levels.


Inclusive, Transparent Compensation

Recognize the value of DEI by treating it as core work that deserves appropriate compensation - not as a volunteer position. Likewise, establish fair and transparent compensation practices to ensure equity across all employees in their roles.

Proactive HR Management To Combat Challenges

As the bridge between management and employees, HR leaders have the unique opportunity to shape company culture, promote employee engagement and contribute to organizational growth. 

Proactivity is to stay ahead of potential challenges with the hopes of avoiding them altogether. By identifying potential issues before they escalate, HR departments save time and resources while elevating the overall employee experience. 


Focus on these three areas to make the biggest impact:



Employee Well-Being and Mental Health

Prioritizing employee health and wellness is crucial in creating a supportive and productive work environment. Consider implementing comprehensive wellness programs that include mental health resources such as counseling services, stress management workshops and mindfulness training. Encourage a culture of open communication where employees feel comfortable discussing their needs.

Regular check-ins and surveys can also help identify potential issues early, allowing the HR team to react with timely interventions that prevent burnout and improve overall job satisfaction.



Recognition and Rewards

Recognition and rewards are powerful tools for boosting employee morale and motivation. Develop a structured recognition program that celebrates both small and significant achievements, with meaningful incentives and acknowledgement.

Consistently recognizing and rewarding employees proactively fosters a positive work culture, enhances job satisfaction and encourages high performance.

happy woman



Retention is critical for maintaining organizational stability and reducing the costs associated with turnover – and it’s not something that can be handled retroactively.  Focus on creating a supportive work environment where employees feel valued and have opportunities for growth right off the bat. 

Conduct regular stay interviews to understand what motivates your employees and address any concerns they might have. Provide clear career development pathways and opportunities for advancement within the organization.  And create an environment that supports each individual’s best efforts. 

By investing in your employees' futures, you can build loyalty and reduce turnover rates.

More Resources on HR Strategies

A person giving a presentation in front of their colleagues

2024 Employee Engagement Trends & Forecasts


The Employee Journey: Every Moment Is an Opportunity To Increase Engagement

Using Employee Feedback to Shape HR Strategy and Drive Success

Using Employee Feedback To Shape HR Strategy and Drive Success

strategy meeting

HR Leader’s Guide to Employee Engagement

Ready to take your HR strategies to the next level? Connect with an Inspirus expert to explore the latest employee engagement and recognition solutions to unlock the full potential of your workplace.