Critical issues in human resources emerge from time to time in various industries. HR issues often emerge in the face of changing legislation, economic circumstances or other events. Because these circumstances are beyond the control of human resource professionals, their response to the changing circumstances can be critical to the ongoing operations of their companies.
In March 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the controversial Affordable Care Act. This law contains a number of provisions designed to overhaul the health care system in the United States. The controversial aspect of the law is that it requires some people to purchase insurance who would not have had to under the old system. Regardless of the debate, health care laws of this nature force HR professionals to adapt to the constantly changing landscape of the health care field. HR managers are responsible for the administration of health care benefits in companies that can be affected by changes to the health care industry. The 2010 act signed into law will be implemented over a period of several years as only portions or individual provisions of the law are enacted. HR managers will be forced to deal with such changes as they occur.
The need to find qualified and competent workers who can fill key vacancies presents another critical issue in some industries. For instance, in an April 2007 article in Forensic Science Communications, W.S. Becker and W.M. Dale noted that the increased demand for better and cheaper forms of forensic science has led to technologies that make them possible. The problem that has emerged, however, is that the demand has become so great that the number of qualified personnel to perform the basic tasks of forensic science is inadequate to handle the demand. This trend has affected other industries and professions as well. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing notes that enrollment levels in nursing programs nationwide will not be sufficient to keep up with the increased demand for qualified nurses. Human resource professionals must consistently deal with these types of personnel issues
Another critical issue in the world of human resource management is the need to recognize increased diversity in the workplace. Citing a 2010 article by Cristina B. Gibson in Perspectives on Psychological Science, the Human Resources Management Guide noted that the tendency to manage with the "one size fits all" mentality could be detrimental to the growth of businesses that fail to recognize the cultural diversity of their employees. Because diversity is likely to be the result of further globalization, human resource professionals will have to continue to conduct research and implement plans to manage an increasingly diverse workforce.