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Tackling today’s business challenges: An employer’s guide


Employers have always faced a lot of business challenges. But if it seems like it’s harder to run an organization now than in the past, your perceptions are correct.

Factors that contribute to the complexity employers face:

  • Increasing business regulations at all levels of government
  • A patchwork of rules for operating in different states and regions
  • New expectations from employees and customers

Here’s an overview of those key issues – compliance, risk mitigation, retention, workplace culture and customer relationships – plus a few tips on how employers can successfully navigate them.

1. Regulatory compliance and risk management

Among the top business challenges for employers are those related to managing compliance and employment risk. The requirements are complex, and there can be strict penalties for failing to comply.

All too often, while employers are focused on growing their businesses, the laws and regulations that apply to their companies get set aside, remaining overlooked until a problem arises.

These challenges specifically include:

  • More people, more rules: Compliance requirements change as a company grows. For example, once a company hits 50 full-time (or full-time equivalent) employees, it becomes subject to the employer shared responsibility provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). That adds another layer of information to monitor and actions to take. That’s why growth typically means a business will need to scale HR functions internally.
  • Risk mitigation: Risk mitigation also often gets overlooked while leaders are focused on growing their businesses. Alas, this common oversight can put a company in a vulnerable position, perhaps one that can result in a costly lawsuit or legal fees. The basic steps to mitigating employee risk including creating an employee handbook and anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training.
  • Location-specific regulations: As businesses expand into other cities and states, they often discover they need HR expertise for every region in which they operate – and someone to continuously monitor the existing rules for updates and make process changes accordingly.

2. Hiring and retention

Employers continuously encounter the business challenges challenge of finding and keeping talent that’s a good fit for their company culture.

Long gone are the days when someone made a whole career with one employer. In fact, younger employees now tend to join new organizations eager to build skills quickly and then seek out new opportunities.

This creates a problem for employers, because it costs a lot of money and time to find talented people.

To hire and retain the talent you want, your company must build a great employee value proposition. To craft a persuasive one, begin by clearly identifying the things in your business that will encourage top talent to sign on and stay, including:

  • Good health benefits
  • Competitive compensation
  • Competitive leave options, including paid time off (PTO)
  • Workplace perks (flexible schedules, free lunches, snacks, etc.)

Once you’ve identified what makes your company a great place to work, write and share your employee value proposition with potential hires by integrating it into job listings and other recruiting materials.

2. Company culture

The overarching theme of your employee value proposition should be that your company has a good culture. A healthy culture – one that makes talent want to join and stay – takes planning and work.

Organizations that let their culture develop on its own run the risk of losing control of it. Your employees may establish a great culture, or they may not.

So, what makes a great culture?

The more effective approach is for leadership to manage the culture from the top down. That means clearly, consistently communicating your organization’s mission, vision and values to your people.

This may sound straightforward, but it can be difficult sometimes, especially when:

In these situations, you want all your employees to experience the same culture. To accomplish that, consider:

  • How do you communicate your culture to workers in distant locations?
  • Are you ensuring that new hires are a good fit for your culture?
  • In a merger, how will your mission, vision and values evolve to reflect the two identities of the individual companies?

3. Employee engagement

Great company culture and employee engagement go hand-in-hand, but it’s worth calling them out as two different business challenges.

Good engagement leads to good morale, which is a hallmark of a great culture. That can make your people more likely to stay. Yet engagement isn’t the only cultural element that can increase retention.

Having an engaged workforce isn’t only about hiring the right people – it requires intentional strategies from the top down. This can include:

  • Providing career growth opportunities
  • Rewarding and recognizing individuals
  • Flexible, transparent communication
  • Connection to broader company goals and objectives
  • Support of work-life balance

4. Customer relationships

Customer relationship management has evolved from “the customer is always right” to “the customer is always right and online.”

Any touchpoint can become the subject of a social media post, for better or worse. And customers are more willing than ever to take their business elsewhere after a single negative experience with an organization.

Good customer relationships stem from the company culture, because engaged employees represent the company well. When employees are passionate about their work and feel that it makes a difference, every touchpoint they have with customers reflects the company’s values.

In the long run, a positive, upbeat culture not only makes employees happy but also customers.

And happier customers positively impact the bottom line.

5. Managing a flexible workplace

Companies have embraced remote work as a means to enhance flexibility and tap into a global talent pool. However, effectively managing remote teams requires a unique set of strategies and tools. Not doing so can lead to:

  • Communication gaps
  • Reduced team cohesion
  • Difficulties tracking productivity

Organizations can tackle these challenges by adapting a flexible workplace strategy and are investing in digital collaboration platforms, video conferencing tools and project management software.

Navigating a flexible workplace also involves understanding the individual needs of employees. Clear communication channels, well-defined goals and regular check-ins are essential to ensure remote and hybrid team members stay aligned with the company’s objectives.

6. Strategic planning

One of the biggest business challenges is balancing short-term goals with long-term visions, and what role your HR or people strategy plays in all of that.

A people strategy, otherwise referred to as human capital or talent strategy, includes aligning workforce needs and capabilities with the overall business objectives. A comprehensive strategic plan will consider a people strategy that includes areas like:

7. Effective leadership

In today’s evolving business landscape, effective leadership stands as both a necessity and an ongoing challenge. The complexities of the modern workplace leadership, including remote teams, diverse talent pools and rapidly advancing technologies, demand new leadership skills.

Effective leadership now extends beyond traditional managerial roles; it encompasses the ability to inspire innovation, lead teams through change and foster a culture of collaboration.

This challenge is amplified by the shifting expectations of employees, who increasingly seek purpose-driven work environments, transparent communication and professional development.

8. The ultimate business challenge: Time to handle it all

These challenges are critical to business success. The complexities and ongoing work involved can pull a leader’s focus away from other business activities.

If you want your business to succeed in the long run, however, ignoring these business challenges is not an option. That’s why many organizations turn to a professional employer organization (PEO) to handle some or all these burdensome tasks. With professional HR help, organizations can focus on their business goals and handle the many challenges that face today’s employers.

Want to learn more about how PEOs can help businesses? Download our free e-book: HR outsourcing: A step-by-step guide to professional employer organizations (PEOs).