Problem Analysis In HR: 5 Problem-Solving Techniques

Problem Analysis In HR: 5 Problem-Solving Techniques

Problem analysis is an essential Human Resource discipline that contributes to organizational agility and helps drive business results. In order for your business to stay ahead of the curve, your team must conduct regular problem analysis in HR, which involves evaluating HR-related issues and proposing resolutions.By proactively identifying areas for improvement and implementing practical solutions, HR professionals can understand situations that are preventing the business from advancing and then develop potential improvement opportunities.

Problem analysis in HR is the process of identifying, evaluating, and proposing possible solutions to HR-related issues within an organization. This involves analyzing HR and workplace-related processes and policies, identifying areas of improvement, and eventually implementing solutions that increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the business. With more companies using big-data insights, HR is more equipped than ever to engage in data-informed problem analysis.

By using problem analysis in HR, you can stay ahead of the curve and ensure that your organizations are equipped to meet changing business needs. In addition, this enables your team to become more strategic and proactive in their approach, contributing to the organization’s overall success.

Problem analysis helps HR teams understand current and future issues while generating a range of possible improvement opportunities through the use of a logical method in pinpointing problems, analyzing the causes, and effectively evaluating the solutions. It also enables your team to research the situation thoroughly instead of jumping to conclusions that might yield different results and ultimately could be costly for the company.

Change management

Change management is the process of guiding individuals, teams, and organizations through the process of transitioning from the current organizational setup to a desired future organizational structure. This can involve systems, processes, technologies, team structures, and/or cultural changes.The purpose of change management is to minimize disruption and negative impacts while maximizing the benefits of the change. As you can imagine, this is a significant shift in your company’s way of working, and many possible problems can arise during this change.One common problem that comes up during this time is communication issues. Your employees may not see the need for change when it’s not appropriately communicated. By using problem analysis, HR can find solutions to this issue before it even happens.

Workforce planning

Workforce planning is anticipating and aligning an organization’s staffing needs with its business goals and objectives. It involves analyzing current workforce data, predicting future trends and skill requirements, and developing strategies to address gaps or surpluses in the workforce.Problem analysis can help your team ensure that the organization has the right people, with the correct skills, in the right place, at the right time to meet its business needs.

Predicting future problems

Also known as predictive analytics, it is a data analytics component that uses statistical algorithms and machine learning to determine the likelihood of future developments based on historical data.Predictive analysis aims to make predictions about future events by analyzing patterns and trends in past data. In HR, it can be used in problem analysis to predict issues that can come up in the future, 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 top-performing employees; therefore, it is one of the essential tasks of Human Resources. Your HR teams can use problem analysis to help identify recruitment, employee engagement, or skills gap concerns.


Recruiting refers to identifying, attracting, and hiring qualified job candidates for your organization. This process typically involves advertising job openings, screening resumes, conducting interviews, and making job offers.One common recruiting challenge is figuring out how to hire talent fast. According to OfficeVibe, top talent is off the job market in 10 days, so your organization needs to be quick if you want to hire high performers. Problem analysis can help you understand the bottleneck and possible solutions to fast-track your recruitment process.

Problem-solving techniques are systematic methods to aid teams through a step-by-step procedure, starting from recognizing issues or difficulties, generating potential solutions, and then determining the most appropriate solution to use. Finding the right solution to complex problems can be challenging; however, utilizing the correct approach and method can streamline the process for your team.There are a variety of problem analysis techniques you can use to identify your HR-related challenges. Let’s unpack 5 types to consider:

1. Problem tree analysis

Problem tree analysis, also called Situational Analysis, is a flow chart that helps find solutions by mapping out main issues and their causes and effects. This analysis has 3 stages:

  1. Identifying negative aspects of the current situation and their causes and effects.
  2. Converting the problems into solution objectives – which you can group into an objective tree.
  3. Defining the solution project scope in a strategy analysis.

This problem analysis can be very beneficial to HR teams and is most valuable when conducted as a workshop with stakeholders where everyone can share their views on the situation at hand.An example where you can use this problem analysis model is employee well-being and happiness. You can bring together a small group of employees to identify any negative aspects of their well-being at work, find ways to turn those problems into objectives, such as new benefits or perks, and then build a project scope to take back to the HR team to implement the goals.

2. Root cause analysis

It is possible that your team knows there is an issue but does not know where this problem stems from. In that case, a Root Cause Analysis (RCA) may be necessary to determine the exact cause and find a solution. RCA aims to get to the heart of the problem and find a permanent solution rather than simply treating the symptoms.In HR, root cause analysis can be used to identify and address various issues, such as high employee turnover, low morale, or inadequate training programs. The process would involve gathering data on the problem through exit interviews, employee surveys, and performance metrics, and analyzing this data to identify the root cause of the problem.For example, if the root cause of high employee turnover is found to be poor management practices, HR can work with managers to develop and implement new training programs to address the issue. By using root cause analysis, HR can implement effective and sustainable solutions to improve employee satisfaction and reduce turnover.

3. CATWOE analysis

CATWOE is a tool used in systems thinking and soft systems methodology to analyze and evaluate complex problems and situations. The acronym stands for the following elements:

  • C – Customers: Who are the stakeholders that the problem or solution will impact?
  • A – Actors: Who are the people involved in the problem or solution being analyzed?
  • T – Transformation process: What processes must be transformed to solve the problem?
  • W – World view: What worldview or values underlie the problem or solution?
  • O – Owner: Who is responsible for analyzing the problem or solution?
  • E – Environmental constraints: What physical, political, or economic factors may impact the problem or solution?

By considering each of these elements, CATWOE analysis provides a comprehensive view of a problem or solution, enabling individuals and organizations to make informed decisions and develop effective strategies.

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

  • Customers: Employees
  • Actors: Managers and HR professionals
  • Transformation process: How to improve employee morale
  • World view: the company’s values and mission
  • Owner: HR and management
  • Environmental constraints: budget, company culture, workload, etc.

By considering each of these elements, HR can develop a comprehensive strategy to address the cause of low employee morale and improve the overall employee experience.

4. Kepner Tregoe analysis

Kepner Tregoe (KT) Analysis is a specific method of rational problem-solving and decision-making developed by Charles Kepner and Benjamin Tregoe. It is a structured, data-driven approach that provides a systematic way to identify and solve problems, make decisions, and evaluate potential outcomes.

KT Analysis consists of 4 main steps:

  1. Situation appraisal: Identify the problem and gather relevant information.
  2. Problem analysis: Determine its root cause.
  3. Decision analysis: Determine the best solution.
  4. Potential problem analysis: Identify potential problems with the chosen solution and develop contingency plans to address them.

KT Analysis can help your team make informed decisions on many HR-related topics. For example, it can help identify areas for improvement in the training and development process and develop solutions to address these areas or when you are going through change management.In addition, KT Analysis differs from other problem analysis techniques because it allows for a contingency plan in case your first solution does not make the impact you expected.

5. SCAMPER analysis

SCAMPER is a creative problem-solving technique that helps generate new ideas for products, services, and processes. For example, in the recruitment process, SCAMPER can be used to create new and innovative approaches to selecting and assessing candidates.

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

Here’s how it can be used in recruitment:

  1. Substitute: What if your team substituted one aspect of the recruitment process for another? For example, what if you used virtual interviews or video conferencing instead of face-to-face interviews?
  2. Combine: Can your team combine two or more elements of the recruitment process? What if you mixed a written assignment with a behavioral interview?
  3. Adapt: What if you adapted an existing process or technique to the recruitment process, such as you adopting a sales pitch during the recruitment process and asking candidates to sell themselves to the company?
  4. Modify: Is your team able to modify, magnify, or minimize a particular aspect of the recruitment process, such as using a smaller or larger interview panel or changing the duration of an interview?
  5. Put to another use: Can you use a different approach in the recruitment process? For instance, what if you used an assessment center to assess a candidate’s skills instead of a traditional interview?
  6. Eliminate: What if you eliminated a certain step or aspect of the recruitment process? For example, what if you eliminated one of the interview rounds that you currently hold?
  7. Rearrange: Can your team rearrange the order of the steps in the recruitment process or change the recruitment process format? Can you rearrange the order of the steps in the assessment process so a technical assignment is completed first and the hiring manager interview is completed after?

By using SCAMPER analysis in the recruitment process, HR professionals can think outside the box to improve the process.These are just a few of the many problem-solving techniques available. The choice of method will depend on the nature of the problem, the resources available, and the preferences and skills of the problem solvers. The key is to choose a technique well-suited to the problem at hand and apply it in a structured and systematic manner to achieve the desired outcome.

Step 1: Determine the problem analysis approach – Start by deciding which problem-analysis approach to use. Of course, choosing the correct technique depends on the specific problem, so your team should consider the problem type, its complexity, and available resources. But don’t worry too much; go for the approach you feel would be the most accurate in determining the problem.

Step 2: Identify and define the problem – Clearly state the problem you’re trying to solve and make sure that the problem is well-defined and understood by all stakeholders involved in the analysis.

Step 3: Analyze the problem– Conduct a thorough analysis of the problem to determine its root cause(s) and use data to support the research. This will ensure that you have a comprehensive understanding of the problem.

Step 4: Generate the solutions – Brainstorm possible solutions to the problem. Consider a range of solutions, from simple to complex, to ensure that you have a variety of options to choose from.

Step 5: Make decisions on your next steps – Review the solutions generated in the previous step and select the most appropriate solution. Make sure to bring in the right stakeholders to get buy-in and allocate roles and responsibilities for implementing the solution.

Step 6: Implement the solution – Once the solution has been agreed upon, implement it. Ensure the implementation plan is well thought out, and that all necessary resources are in place.

Step 7: Evaluate and iterate – Evaluate the results of the solution implementation to determine its effectiveness. If necessary, repeat the problem analysis process to identify and resolve any remaining problems or improve the solution.

  • What is problem analysis in HR: Problem analysis in HR involves using systematic techniques to evaluate HR-related issues and proposing solutions to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the business.
  • Why is problem analysis used in HR: HR teams use problem analysis to understand current and future issues, research situations thoroughly, and make data-informed decisions.
  • Examples of when problem analysis is used: HR can conduct problem analysis to solve issues around change management, workforce planning, predicting future problems, talent management, and recruiting.
  • Examples of 5 problem analysis techniques: Problem tree analysis, Root cause analysis, CATWOE analysis, Kepner Tregoe analysis, and SCAMPER analysis are some of the systematic analysis tools your team can use to help you solve problems.
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