The 2018 Edition of HR’s Biggest Pain Points

Each year at the Alabama SHRM State Conference, we survey participants to gain insights into what their biggest pain points are. Before I even looked at the data this year, my guess was that recruiting was at the top of the list or has at least risen to the top of the list. With the unemployment rate now lower than 4% national wide, the pain of finding talent is real.

But what we saw in the results left talent sourcing/acquisition in the middle of the pack:

Tied for the highest pain points were leadership training and employee development.  If we look at the data over the three years that we have done the survey, these are both still the top two, with employee development being the highest and leadership training coming in a close second.

Maybe these are the focus because of the need to retain top talent so that recruiting doesn’t have to become a pain point.

Of course this is in no way a scientific study and the sample size was small, but it is interesting to consider if these are the biggest pain points, what can be done about them?

I would suggest the following:

Radical Candor

Work Rules


  • Create a structured Leadership Training/Development Program.  You can customize this for your company with a reputable vendor or you can select an off-the-shelf program that is right for you.  The key is to make sure the program:
  1. Builds self-awareness in participants (a good program incorporates some type of validated assessment)
  2. Builds understanding of others and helps participants connect their self-awareness to influencing others through self-monitoring
  3. Helps people to think differently and ultimately behave differently
  4. In order to drive home positive behavioral outcomes, incorporating some type of action plan/homework should be required post-training
  5. Should gather individual and organizational metrics to monitor the success of the program


Some resources to consider through Horizon Point to help you with designing or purchasing a leadership training program can be found here:  Key Training Topics. This also includes information about a few of our leadership training partners and their programs:

I also like these providers/programs:


Sometimes we neglect employee development and leadership training because we just don’t know where to start.  Hopefully these resources will help to get you started if these two things are your biggest pain points.

What are you biggest pain points?


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What are your biggest HR Pain Points?

Mary Ila Ward

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