Employers Reveal their Top HR Concerns in New Report

Mar 12, 2019
| The Extensis Team

The Top HR Concerns of 2019


Being an employer, especially a smaller business, is no easy task in 2019.

The changing workplace can represent a major challenge for companies, and that doesn’t include what is going on with employment legislation updates.

However, some things are of greater concern to employers than others. In their annual Top HR Compliance Challenges whitepaper, XpertHR highlighted the top issues employers are facing this year as well as statistics about each topic.

While the whitepaper goes into detail about each challenge and how employers can plan for them, we are going to focus on some of the data uncovered in the survey.
 

Federal Challenges, State & Local Issues, and Understanding Workforce Planning

The XpertHR survey was taken by over 800 HR professionals from small, medium, and large employers across the United States.

The first topic highlighted in the XpertHR survey is federal challenges. 39% of respondents said that preparing for the future of healthcare and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is very or extremely challenging.

31% said that hiring workers on visas is very or extremely challenging, and 34% said that understanding the federal policy on marijuana is very or extremely challenging due to changing state laws.

The next challenge explored is state and local issues. Not too surprisingly, 38% said they are very or extremely challenged by paid sick leave laws.

32% said that medical and recreational marijuana laws are very or extremely challenging, similar to responses for federal challenges. 30% said investigating harassment complaints to be very or extremely challenging as well.

Next, the whitepaper discusses a very common issue plaguing employers – understanding workforce planning.

When it comes to recruiting, 64% of HR professionals said that finding high-quality applicants is very or extremely challenging. This correlates with other survey results that show how difficult talent acquisition is becoming. Retaining talent is also hard for employers, with 49% saying this is very or extremely challenging.

Increasing employee engagement, morale, and satisfaction is very or extremely challenging to 49% of those surveyed.
 

Managing Employee Leaves, Employee Benefits, and Data Security

The next compliance issue employers are worried about in 2019 is managing employee leaves.

47% of respondents said that tracking and complying with changing leave laws across states is very or extremely challenging. Additionally, 46% are very or extremely challenged by complying with changing leave laws across localities.

Lastly, 39% of HR professionals feel that creating a business strategy for employee leave benefits and compliance is very or extremely challenging.

Next, the report goes over how HR professionals and employers are handling employee benefits, health, and wellness.

With employee wellness growing in importance, 48% of respondents said that they are very or extremely challenged with handling employee mental health issues.

Healthcare is also a growing concern for employers and employees alike, and 40% said that preparing for the future of healthcare and the ACA is very or extremely challenging.

Voluntary benefits (something that is growing in demand) are causing headaches for employers with 30% saying they are challenged with figuring out which offerings provide the most ROI for the company and employees.

With a number of significant data breaches occurring over the last several years (especially in 2018), more companies are focusing efforts on data security and privacy. However, this represents one of the biggest challenges for employers in 2019.

51% of HR professionals said that they are very or extremely challenged with preventing cyber breaches. 31% said that protecting employee information from a data breach is very or extremely challenging, and 30% said that complying with state data breach legislation is a challenge.
 

Marijuana Laws, Employee Handbooks, Active Shooter & Workplace Violence, and Diversity

The XpertHR report touched briefly on this next HR challenge in other sections – changing marijuana laws.

34% said maintaining a drug free workplace is challenging given the changing marijuana laws. 33% said that managing employees who use marijuana medically or recreationally is very or extremely challenging.

Next, the survey goes into an area that we have written about before – developing and implementing employee handbooks. The biggest challenge listed is ensuring handbooks are read and understood by all employees (50%). 47% of HR professionals said that keeping handbooks current with changing/new laws is very or extremely challenging.

An interesting result in this section is that 31% said aligning employee handbooks with business objects is a challenge.

Another employer concern that has grown in recent years is preparing for an active shooter and workplace violence. This section of the report had only one statistic: 45% of respondents view preparing and responding to an active shooter or workplace violence incident as challenging.

The last HR compliance challenge listed in the XpertHR whitepaper is building and maintaining a diverse and inclusive workforce.

35% of employers said that they are very or extremely challenged with eliminating unconscious bias in the recruiting process. 33% said that hiring a more diverse workforce is very or extremely challenging. Also, 30% of respondents said that meeting diversity and inclusion goals are challenging.

It’s also worth noting that 29% said that managing different generations is very or extremely challenging. This is an issue that all employers, regardless of size, are facing today.
 

Employers Need to Prepare for These (and Other) HR Concerns

HR, employment law, and compliance challenges can be issues for all businesses, but often smaller employers have greater difficulty overcoming them.

This is why HR outsourcing has grown so rapidly in recent years. It’s one solution that small business leaders can explore to overcome their HR concerns.

Regardless of how it’s done, small employers must stay aware of the issues highlighted in the XpertHR survey and other HR-related challenges to maintain compliance and ensure HR success.

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