Five Key Challenges in Human Resources by Jenny Scrivener of Hunter Adams

One of the key aspects of corporate life in the 21st century is employee engagement — utilising your business’ talent to get the best from them and creating a positive environment for your staff to flourish. Companies depend on their people: disengaged staff cost your company money and affects the bottom line. We must help leaders to understand the direct correlation between values and engagement and bottom line profitability.

At Hunter Adams, we have a unique engagement process. We have a strategy session with the organisation’s board and then we find out about the employee experience, what the goal is and create a strategy to bring everyone on board and get there. We have created a model — six fundamentals for fast growth, which include looking at creating the right environment, structure, clear roles, clear embedded values, engagement of both leaders and staff and strategy.

Originally set up in Aberdeen in the oil and gas sector, Hunter Adams opened offices in Edinburgh two years later. After diversifying and extending its reach to London, the company services a UK wide client base of over 300 clients in over 20 sectors. Hunter Adams is redefining HR with absolute focus on a company’s bottom line profitability.

Here are a few of the most important challenges of human resources.

1) People Strategy. Recently there’s been a greater understanding that growth is more achievable with a people strategy. In the past, it hasn’t been recognised that employees make the biggest impact on a company’s growth or profitability, and the value of Human Resources has been downplayed. There’s been a paradigm shift, and there’s been an emphasis on engaging and creating the right culture within a company.

2) Recruitment. It is a key part of Human Resources; finding the best talent is always hard. We use seconded recruitment consultants as the landscape is changing very quickly. Historically, recruitment coordinators managed an agency, but now direct sourcing methodology allows you to attract and engage with the right talent. This also means huge savings.

3) Communication. Creating a dialogue is at the top of the list when it comes to employee engagement. Most people need recognition for what they’re doing to be happy in their work. When there have been company issues, they want intervention and apologies, and appreciate openness and transparency.

4) Career path. A visible career path explained on paper makes most employees a lot more satisfied in their role, and the key to that is continued development. We are seeing a lot of businesses opt for training support, especially leadership development. Often employees become managers because they’re good at a role, but struggle due to a lack of managerial experience. In line manager training, we develop key strengths for effective management.

5) Technology. In some industries technology plays a huge role less so in people management. Millennials have a different expectation of technology in business and that’s something to develop and encourage. However we must remember technology is an enabler, ultimately it’s about people so when we become too slick we can de-personalise the approach.

Jenny Scrivener is a founder member of the Scottish Business Network. She moved from Scotland to London two years ago to set up and run the South Region of Hunter Adams, providing bespoke HR Solutions for clients across over 20 sectors.