Regardless of the organization’s direction, human resource (HR) management is integral to the company. Without its effective work, it is impossible to recruit qualified specialists and maintain the current staff. Due to this, the development and direction of organizational resources are necessary for the company’s successful functioning (Nankervis et al., 2019). However, in the modern world, there are more and more problems that create additional difficulties for the work of HR departments. The reason for this is a significant change in the workers’ demands, as their interests are transformed under the influence of globalization and the technological revolution (Nankervis et al., 2019). In addition, every year, the differences between generations and their requirements become more striking. Thus, these global problems give rise to several challenges and difficulties that HR specialists are forced to solve. This essay aims to confirm this thesis through a discussion of the existing problems faced by human resources practitioners.
Of all the challenges that affect the work of HR professionals, globalization is the most extensive due to its characteristic features. This concept refers to the growing interconnectedness of economic, political, and cultural structures (Nankervis et al., 2019). On the one hand, increasing globalization allows firms to expand and explore new markets and possibilities. On the other hand, interacting with the international market creates significant pressure on the company and HR practitioners (Lina, 2018). Thus, globalization offers many benefits, which come with a substantial number of additional complexities.
First of all, globalization as a phenomenon allows establishing contact with specialists not from the organization’s home country. Depending on how a connection occurs, this interaction is associated with the need to overcome specific barriers: linguistic, geographical, and cultural (Agarwal & Al Qouyatahi, 2018). On the one hand, language difficulties can be easily resolved due to the presence of world languages. However, this does not reduce the scale of a possible problem in which company specialists may have different native languages. Such a situation will most likely lead to misunderstandings due to the peculiarities of comprehending the language by its native speakers and people for whom it is additional.
The geographical barriers are most relevant when interacting with company workers located in another country. However, even one country’s geography can become a problem for such large countries as the USA or Russia. First of all, there is the issue of different time zones, which must be considered for reasonable cooperation between departments. Secondly, the presence of workers in other countries may lead to the need to evaluate additional factors, such as legislation or relocation costs. The greater the distance between employees, the more difficult it will be for HR specialists to estimate all the elements to ensure the organization’s stable operation. However, this approach sometimes justifies itself, providing significant savings in resources in the long run.
Finally, one of the most serious is the factor of having different cultures. An organization is not even necessary to interact with another country since modern society is inherently multicultural. As a result, there is a reasonably high probability that colleagues will be representatives of entirely different cultures. To provide all of them with the most comfortable working conditions, HR practitioners must maintain a high level of cultural knowledge. Without skillful management that assesses the different cultures’ characteristics and the ethical issues associated with them, the effective operation of a multicultural team is impossible (Lina, 2018). From my perspective, the moment of different overlapping cultures is the most influential factor that brings the most significant complexity to the HR department. This is both the widespread occurrence of this phenomenon and the consequences that it can bring if mismanaged.
The massiveness of technological changes that affect the entire society allows for calling this process a new, fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0. It reflects the digital transformation of society and all relevant structures, including the business sector (Nankervis, 2019). Digital technologies have completely changed over the past few decades, entering all spheres of human activity. On the one hand, their presence simplifies many operations, enabling more efficient operations. Simultaneously, the pace of current technological changes is relatively high, making it challenging to adapt to them constantly. In addition, with the further development of technology, there are entirely new difficulties that HR specialists have not encountered before.
First of all, the pace of technological change itself significantly impacts the HR departments’ functioning. The life of a modern person is changing quickly, while new ways of solving problems appear, and old ones become outdated. A similar process affects various professions, transforming them or making them obsolete. Thus, the pace of the technological revolution creates a substantial difference between the industry’s needs and workers’ current capabilities (Whysall et al., 2019). This situation is a direct challenge for HR structures that are forced to adapt to the rapidly changing professional market. The solution to such a problem, in turn, requires the involvement of more modern technologies, which in some way forms a vicious circle. According to research, there is a pronounced need for the evolution of approaches to talent management that will meet the requirements of a changing market (Whysall et al., 2019). Otherwise, this problem will probably only worsen in the long term.
Another category of problems is the technologies themselves since they are designed to significantly change how organizations are structured. One of the most significant examples is intelligent automation, such as various robotic mechanisms and artificial intelligence technologies (Vrontis et al., 2021). They exist due to the need to process massive data flows and the desire to optimize production processes (Barboza, 2019). Although their implementation improves the company’s efficiency, a whole layer of problems for HR specialists is formed.
First of all, new technologies may begin to replace those functions that workers previously performed. This entails a procedure for moving workers and presents a serious ethical problem. Second, human resource practitioners must ensure that technologies are appropriately integrated into the workflow, ensuring that all associated workers have the necessary skills. Thus, from my perspective, the problem of the pace of technological change is somewhat less critical in comparison with globalization but requires the formation of a more dynamic system. As long as HR managers and employees are quick to adapt to external changes, the issue of a technological revolution is much less of a threat. However, this problem is of great relevance for some population groups, especially older generations.
Differentiating Needs of Different Generations
The issue of interaction with new technology is not the only one that should be considered by human resources practitioners when analyzing the needs of older workers. Currently, the labor market is experiencing unprecedented diversity in the labor force (Satpathy et al., 2018). This age difference, first of all, imposes specific requirements on building working relationships. However, the very presence of several generations at once, from Baby Boomers to Generation Y or Millennials, forces HR professionals to revise management strategies. The main reason for this is diverse work expectations and aspirations among people of different generations (Nankervis et al., 2019). Therefore, these demographic factors have a significant impact on the work of HR departments.
The very concept of the presence of several generations in one workplace is not something new and unique to the modern world. Moreover, the role of the multi-generational workforce has been and remains significant since it contributes to the transfer of experience and the education of new specialists (Satpathy et al., 2018). However, the presence of several generations within the same workplace requires additional efforts on the part of the HR department. Each of these groups has its ideals and worldviews, formed in different conditions. Therefore, the likelihood of conflicting ideologies emerging is exceptionally high. Consequently, HR practitioners will be forced to help create a work environment where such contrasting views do not create conflict and reduce company performance.
In this case, the main obstacle may be the attitudes toward work and life balance. While Baby Boomers devote themselves entirely to work, Millennials prefer to combine it with other activities (Satpathy et al., 2018). Accordingly, if representatives of such different generations are forced to obey each other, this will inevitably lead to conflicts. This situation forces human resource specialists to create additional strategies to avoid such problems and smooth out generational differences. Such issues also require research into the similarities and differences between generations, which puts perspective on their expectations (Smith & Garriety, 2020). However, it is necessary to understand that, in many cases, the determining factors are the characteristics of a particular individual. Thus, from my perspective, the problem of the diverse needs of different generations can significantly complicate the work of HR practitioners. At the moment, this issue is exacerbated even more due to the arrival of Generation Z in the labor market. Therefore, its relevance is relatively high since any organization can face this problem regardless of its field of activity.
Modern strategic human resource management faces many problems that complicate the work of HR practitioners. From my perspective, the most serious and large-scale of them is globalization, which affects all spheres of human activity. This phenomenon significantly changes people’s lives, incorporating new cultures and principles into them. A more significant impact is exerted on organizations, forcing HR departments to assess various global influences. In comparison, the need to link different generations seems less critical, especially because the adaptability of younger people is usually higher. Finally, technological differences can seriously affect organizations, but the scale of the impact depends largely on the industry. Nevertheless, all these factors deserve attention, and only by adequately addressing each of them can an effective strategic human resource management be built.
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