HR in Today’s Cultural Landscape

The culture of the workplace has undergone some dramatic shifts in recent years, creating new challenges for HR departments across all industries. Here are just some of those challenges, and how earning an MBA in HR could help working professionals meet them.

What Hasn’t Changed

Before we get into the challenges facing today’s HR managers, let’s take a quick step back and look at some of the more traditional issues HR managers have to deal with on a daily basis. These issues have been around for decades, and will very likely remain for years to come.

HR managers have to deal with a wide range of personnel matters, one of which is hiring new employees. They also have to consider training, compensation, benefits and more. They do all of this keeping the company’s long-term goals in mind while trying to ensure employees are satisfied with their work experience.

Some elements of a HR manager’s job will never change. HR managers, for example, will always have to be organized and responsive. They will have to be able to move between projects at a moment’s notice, and they will always need to have strong interpersonal skills.

They also need to be able to boost employee morale during times of struggle or through changes in management. Many workers find it hard to adjust to a new boss, for example. The HR manager will sometimes need to step in and help them adjust to changes.

Maybe most important, however, is that HR managers have to be sensitive to the needs and personalities of their employees. That has never been truer than in today’s changing work environment.

Challenges HR Managers Face

Working in human resources takes not only sensitivity but also resourcefulness to deal with a number of challenges that have arisen in recent years:

Diversity – While most would agree that increased diversity in the workplace is a positive development, it does create additional responsibilities for HR managers. One of the most important is to ensure the workplace is a true team environment, where respect for other cultures is paramount. Diversity training programs can help establish standards for both acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

Innovation – Technology is evolving at a rapid pace, making it necessary for companies to adapt quickly. If they don’t, they run the risk of being overwhelmed by the competition. This often means that HR managers will have to convince employees of the need to accept and learn new technologies. This is just one of the reasons why HR executives need excellent communication skills.

Legal Requirements – Just as technology is constantly evolving, labor laws and regulations also continue to change. It can be difficult for a business owner to keep up with them, and some may even choose to look the other way. This can eventually cripple a company due to potential lawsuits, fines or other types of legal action. HR managers often have to take the reins when it comes to making sure their companies are in compliance.

Healthcare – While many Americans have benefited from expanded healthcare coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), this legislation has caused a lot of headaches for HR departments. Companies have to decide whether to absorb increased insurance costs or pass them along to customers. HR managers need to understand the different insurance options available and which option will be best for their company’s bottom line.

Sexual Harassment – Spawned by allegations against former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, the #MeToo movement has started a national conversation on sexual harassment that has made HR managers rethink the way they do their jobs. HR departments are responding with a number of measures, including culture audits to identify potential problems, training on sexual misconduct, and channels for whistleblowers to report improper behavior.

How an MBA in Human Resources Can Help

Earning an MBA in human resources can provide professionals with the skills they need to deal with these and other challenges presented by the modern workplace. HR courses in Fitchburg’s online MBA program equip students with tools they will use throughout their careers.

Learn more about Fitchburg State University’s online MBA in Human Resource Management program.


The Princeton Review: Human Resources Manager

Atlas Staffing: 10 of Today’s Common Human Resource Challenges

Workforce: HR Responds to the #MeToo Movement

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