5 Excellent Problem Analysis Steps HR Must Follow

5 essential steps to conduct problem analysis in hr

Problem analysis is a critical Human Resource discipline that promotes organizational agility and drives business results. To stay ahead of the competition, your HR team must conduct regular problem analysis, which includes evaluating HR-related issues and proposing solutions.

HR professionals can understand situations that are preventing the business from progressing and then develop potential improvement opportunities by proactively identifying areas for improvement and implementing practical solutions.

What Is A Problem Analysis?

The process of identifying, evaluating, and proposing potential solutions to HR-related issues within an organization is known as problem analysis. This entails analyzing HR and workplace-related processes and policies, identifying areas for improvement, and ultimately implementing solutions that increase the business’s effectiveness and efficiency. With more businesses leveraging big data insights, HR is better equipped than ever to engage in data-driven problem analysis. 

You can stay ahead of the curve in HR by using problem analysis to ensure your organizations are prepared to meet changing business needs. Furthermore, this enables your team to become more strategic and proactive in their approach, contributing to the overall success of the organization.

Why would HR require a problem analysis?

Through the use of a logical method in pinpointing problems, analyzing the causes, and effectively evaluating solutions, problem analysis assists HR teams in understanding current and future issues while generating a range of possible improvement opportunities. It also allows your team to thoroughly research the situation rather than jumping to conclusions that may yield different results and ultimately be costly to the company.

Importance of Problem Analysis in HR

The following are some of the primary reasons why problem analysis is important in human resources.

Enhances HR practices: 

HR problem analysis allows organizations to identify flaws in their HR practices and processes. As a result, the quality of HR services such as recruitment, retention, and employee development improves, resulting in higher employee engagement, job satisfaction, and organizational performance.

Improves employee retention and engagement: 

HR problem analysis assists organizations in identifying the factors that influence employee engagement and retention. This enables them to devise strategies to address these factors and to foster a positive work environment that promotes employee growth and development, resulting in higher levels of employee satisfaction and retention.

Boosts productivity: 

Problem analysis in HR can lead to increased workplace productivity by identifying and addressing HR-related challenges. Improving training programs, streamlining work processes, and creating a positive work culture that encourages collaboration and teamwork are all examples of how this can be done.

Cost savings: 

Problem analysis in HR assists organizations in identifying areas where they can save money, such as by lowering turnover rates or improving employee performance. As a result, the organization’s profitability and financial stability may improve.

Ensures conformity: 

In human resources, problem analysis is critical for ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. This could include creating policies and procedures that are in accordance with labor laws, ensuring that all employees are treated fairly and equitably, and keeping accurate records of HR-related activities.

Examples of Situations when HR might conduct a problem analysis

Change Management

Change management is the process of guiding individuals, teams, and organizations through the transition from the current organizational structure to the desired future organizational structure. This can include changes to systems, processes, technologies, team structures, and/or cultural norms. 

Change management’s goal is to minimize disruption and negative consequences while maximizing the benefits of the change. As you can imagine, this is a significant change in your company’s working methods, and many potential issues may arise as a result. 

Communication problems are a common issue during this period. When change is not properly communicated to your employees, they may not see the need for it. HR can prevent this problem from occurring by using problem analysis.

Workforce Planning

The process of anticipating and aligning an organization’s staffing needs with its business goals and objectives is known as workforce planning. It entails analyzing current workforce data, forecasting future trends and skill requirements, and developing strategies to address workforce gaps or surpluses. 

Problem analysis can assist your team in ensuring that your organization has the right people, with the right skills, in the right place, at the right time to meet its business requirements.

Predicting future issues

It is a data analytics component that uses statistical algorithms and machine learning to predict future developments based on historical data. It is also known as predictive analytics.

The predictive analysis seeks to forecast future events by examining patterns and trends in historical data. In HR, it can be used in problem analysis to predict future issues, such as when an employee will decide to leave the company.

Talent Management

Talent management encompasses all HR activities aimed at attracting, developing, motivating, and retaining high-performing employees; thus, it is one of Human Resources’ most important tasks. Problem analysis can help your HR teams identify recruitment, employee engagement, and skills gap issues. 


Recruiting is the process of identifying, attracting, and hiring qualified job candidates for your company. Typically, this process entails advertising job openings, screening resumes, conducting interviews, and making job offers. 

One common recruiting challenge is determining how to hire talent quickly. According to OfficeVibe, top talent leaves the job market in 10 days, so if you want to hire high performers, you must act quickly. Problem analysis can assist you in understanding the bottleneck and potential solutions to expedite your recruitment process.

Major Challenges To Problem Analysis in HR

Data availability and accuracy: 

The availability and quality of data are one of the most significant challenges for problem analysis in HR. To understand the root cause of a problem and develop effective solutions, HR professionals require access to accurate, reliable, and relevant data. However, data may not always be readily available or incomplete, outdated, or inaccurate, making thorough analysis difficult.

Resources are scarce: 

Another challenge for HR problem analysis is a lack of resources, such as time, money, and personnel. HR professionals may lack the resources needed to conduct a thorough analysis, such as conducting employee surveys or hiring outside consultants to assist with the process.

HR issues are complicated: 

HR issues can be complex, involving multiple factors that interact with one another, making determining the root cause difficult. Because of this complexity, developing effective solutions that address all of the underlying factors can be difficult.

Change resistance: 

Even when a problem analysis identifies the need for change, organizations may resist making changes to HR practices. Cultural norms, employee resistance to change, or concerns about the costs of implementing new policies or procedures may all contribute to this resistance.

Inadequate HR knowledge: 

Not every company has HR professionals with the necessary expertise to conduct a thorough problem analysis. In some cases, HR professionals may lack the necessary knowledge or skills to identify and address complex HR issues, making effective solutions difficult to develop.

5 Techniques for Problem Analysis

Problem-solving techniques are systematic methods for assisting teams through a step-by-step procedure that begins with recognizing issues or difficulties, then generating potential solutions, and finally determining the best solution to use. Finding the right solution to complex problems can be difficult; however, using the right approach and method can make the process easier for your team.

You can use a variety of problem-solving techniques to identify your HR-related issues. Let us unpack 5 types to think about:

Problem Tree Analysis

This method is also known as Situational Analysis, it’s a flow chart that aids in the resolution of problems by mapping out major issues as well as their causes and effects. This analysis is divided into three stages:

Identifying negative aspects of the current situation, as well as the causes and effects of those aspects.

Converting problems into solution objectives can then be organized into an objective tree.

In a strategy analysis, the scope of the solution project is defined.  

This problem analysis can be extremely beneficial to HR teams, and it is most beneficial when conducted as a workshop with stakeholders, allowing everyone to share their perspectives on the situation at hand.

Employee well-being and happiness are two areas where this problem analysis model can be applied. You can gather a small group of employees to identify any negative aspects of their workplace well-being, find ways to turn those problems into objectives, such as new benefits or perks, and then create a project scope to present to the HR team in order for the goals to be implemented.

Investigation of the root causes

It is possible that your team is aware of a problem but is unaware of the source of the problem. In that case, a Root Cause Analysis (RCA) may be required to identify the underlying cause and find a solution. Instead of simply treating the symptoms, RCA seeks to get to the root of the problem and find a permanent solution. 

In human resources, root cause analysis can be used to identify and address issues such as high employee turnover, low morale, and insufficient training programs. Exit interviews, employee surveys, and various HR metrics would be used to collect data on the problem, which would then be analyzed to determine the root cause. 

For example, if poor management practices are discovered to be the root cause of high employee turnover, HR can collaborate with managers to develop and implement new training programs to address the issue. HR can implement effective and long-term solutions to improve employee satisfaction and reduce turnover by using root-cause analysis.

CATWOE evaluation

CATWOE is a tool for analyzing and evaluating complex problems and situations in systems thinking and soft systems methodology. The acronym is an abbreviation for the following elements:

C – Customers: Who are the stakeholders affected by the problem or solution? 

A – Actors: Who are the individuals involved in the problem or solution under consideration? 

T – Transformation process: Which processes must be altered in order to solve the problem?

W – Worldview: What worldview or values are at the root of the problem or solution? 

O – Owner: Who is in charge of analyzing the problem or finding a solution? 

E – Physical, political, or economic constraints: What physical, political, or economic factors may have an impact on the problem or solution?

CATWOE analysis provides a comprehensive view of a problem or solution by taking into account each of these elements, allowing individuals and organizations to make informed decisions and develop effective strategies. 

In the case of low employee morale, for example, CATWOE analysis could be used to identify the: 

Employees are customers.

Managers and human resource professionals are the actors.

The transformation procedure follows: What can be done to boost employee morale?

Global perspective: the company’s values and mission

HR and management are the owners.

Environmental constraints include budget, company culture, workload, and so on.

HR can develop a comprehensive strategy to address the root cause of low employee morale and improve the overall employee experience by taking into account each of these elements.

Analysis of Kepner Tregoe

Charles Kepner and Benjamin Tregoe developed Kepner Tregoe Analysis (KT) as a method of rational problem-solving and decision-making. It is a structured, data-driven approach to identifying and solving problems, making decisions, and evaluating potential outcomes.

The four main steps of KT Analysis are as follows: 

Situation analysis entails identifying the problem and gathering pertinent information.

Determine the root cause of the problem.

Determine the best solution through decision analysis.

Analysis of potential problems with the chosen solution: Identify potential problems with the solution and develop contingency plans to address them.

KT Analysis can assist your team in making informed decisions on a variety of HR-related topics. For example, it can aid in identifying areas for improvement in the training and development process and developing solutions to address these issues, or it can aid in change management. 

Furthermore, KT Analysis differs from other problem analysis techniques in that it allows for a backup plan in the event that your first solution does not have the desired impact. 

SCAMPER examination

SCAMPER is a problem-solving technique that aids in the generation of new ideas for products, services, and processes. SCAMPER, for example, can be used in the recruitment process to develop new and innovative approaches to selecting and assessing candidates. 

Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to another use, Eliminate, and Reverse is an acronym that stands for Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to another use, Eliminate, and Reverse.

Here’s how you can use it in recruitment:

What if your team swapped one aspect of the recruitment process for another? What if, instead of face-to-face interviews, you used virtual interviews or video conferencing?

Can your team combine two or more aspects of the hiring process? What if a written assignment was combined with a behavioral interview?

Adapt: What if you applied an existing process or technique to the recruitment process, such as using a sales pitch and asking candidates to sell themselves to the company?

Modify: Can your team change, magnify, or minimize a specific aspect of the recruitment process, such as using a smaller or larger interview panel or changing the length of an interview?

Put another way: Can you take a different approach to the hiring process? What if, instead of a traditional interview, you used an assessment center to evaluate a candidate’s skills?

What if you removed a specific step or aspect of the recruitment process? For example, what if you eliminated one of your current interview rounds?

Can your team rearrange the order of the steps in the recruitment process or change the format of the recruitment process? Can you reorder the steps in the assessment process so that a technical assignment is completed first and the hiring manager interview follows?

HR professionals can think outside the box to improve the recruitment process by using SCAMPER analysis.

These are only a few of the numerous problem-solving methods available. The method chosen will be determined by the nature of the problem, the available resources, and the preferences and skills of the problem solvers. The key is to select a technique that is appropriate for the problem at hand and to apply it in a structured and systematic manner to achieve the desired result.

How to Perform a Problem Analysis

Step 1: Determine the approach to problem analysis – Begin by deciding on a problem-analysis approach. Of course, the correct technique depends on the specific problem, so your team should take into account the problem type, complexity, and available resources. But don’t be too concerned; choose the approach you believe will be the most accurate in determining the problem.

Step 2: Recognize and define the issue – Declare the problem you’re attempting to solve, and ensure that it’s well-defined and understood by all stakeholders involved in the analysis.

Step 3: Examine the issue– Conduct a thorough investigation of the problem to determine its root cause(s), and use data to back up your findings. This will ensure that you have a thorough understanding of the issue.

Step 4: Generate solutions – Create a list of potential solutions to the problem. Consider a variety of solutions, from simple to complex, to ensure you have a variety of options.

Step 5: Decide on your next steps – Examine the solutions generated in the previous step and choose the best one. Bring in the right stakeholders to ensure buy-in and assign roles and responsibilities for implementing the solution.

Step 6: Put the solution into action – Once the solution has been agreed upon, put it into action. Make certain that the implementation plan is well thought out and that all necessary resources are available.

Step 7: Evaluate and iterate – Evaluate the solution implementation results to determine its effectiveness. Repeat the problem analysis process if necessary to identify and resolve any remaining issues or to improve the solution.

Important Takeaways

What is problem analysis in HR: In human resources, it entails using systematic techniques to evaluate HR-related issues and proposing solutions to improve the business’s effectiveness and efficiency.

Importance of problem analysis in hr: It is a vital procedure that enables organizations to effectively identify and address HR-related challenges. Understanding the underlying causes of these challenges allows HR professionals to develop strategies to improve HR practices, improve employee engagement and retention, boost productivity, cut costs, and ensure legal and regulatory compliance.

While problem analysis is essential for addressing HR-related issues in organizations, it is not always simple. HR professionals may face data availability and quality issues, limited resources, the complexity of HR issues, resistance to change, and a lack of HR expertise. Overcoming these challenges necessitates an organized strategy that includes identifying the problem, gathering data, analyzing the data, determining the root cause, developing a plan of action, and implementing and monitoring the plan.

Some of the systematic analysis tools your team can use to help you solve problems include problem tree analysis, root cause analysis, CATWOE analysis, Kepner Tregoe analysis, and SCAMPER analysis. 

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