The majority of respondents have 20-30 years’ HR experience and over half of HR professionals (51 per cent) are members of the operational board in their organisation; this is up from 46 per cent last year, suggesting a growing strategic influence for HR professionals amongst the senior executive team. While HR professionals are generally growing in strategic importance, the improvement is not evenly distributed across geographic regions. In the Nordic countries of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark a large proportion (60 per cent) of HR professionals have a seat at the top operational executive table; this compares to 50 per cent of HR professionals in EU member countries, but only 22 per cent in Switzerland. Less than a quarter of HR professionals (24 per cent) in the Asia-Pacific region are members of their senior management team.
Board HR Priorities
With talent scarcity becoming a greater challenge for HR professionals the importance of employee engagement and culture & values in keeping key talent engaged remains clear; both have grown by 3 per cent this year.
HR Reporting and Performance
There were no HR functions where more than half of HR professionals were confident that they excelled at reporting. This suggests a significant gap exists in the skill set of HR professionals, who know the value of HR data but lack the ability or confidence to gather, analyse and use the information effectively. With the increasing influence of technology in HR, expect management information to be more widely used by HR teams in future, but don't expect the HR director to be the one analysing the data. Rather, the growing demand for HR reporting will be accompanied by a growing demand for the hiring of HR analysts to keep up with the mandate for actionable HR information.
Labour Market Trends
There have been significant shifts in labour market trends during the past 12 months. The level of concern HR professionals have regarding the ageing workforce has leapt 11 per cent and placed it second in labour market challenges, above skills shortages (which has dropped 8 per cent in the last 12 months). HR professionals in Switzerland are most concerned about the ageing workforce demographic; 71 per cent of local HR professionals view this as a significant labour market challenge, compared to 53 per cent of EU HR professionals and 45 per cent of Nordic and APAC HR professionals. In response to these concerns, a majority of HR professionals (54 per cent) are willing to source talent from overseas. HR professionals from APAC are the most open to sourcing talent from overseas (88 per cent would consider doing so), which is twice as many as HR professionals from the Nordics (44 per cent). The world is shrinking, and the growth of technology and the flexibility it offers make acquiring talent from overseas significantly easier. Businesses are also improving in the areas of global talent mobility.
Whether they are sourcing talent locally or from overseas, large numbers of HR professionals are now using a sophisticated range of online recruitment techniques to attract new hires to their business. A 'one size fits all' approach does not apply to recruitment. Most successful in-house recruitment teams use a variety of methods to attract the best talent. The investment in online recruiting techniques by HR professionals has increased by 8 per cent in just 12 months. The use of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter has also increased (by 6 per cent) in the past year, but it is LinkedIn that appears to be having the greatest impact on how HR professionals recruit talent; adoption increased by 7 per cent in the past year and is rising in popularity at almost double the rate of any other recruitment tool.
An engaged workforce is vital to business success and growth. But how do you engage people? Communication, investment, a values-led culture, reward, inspirational leadership are all key components. Social media can certainly support this, but it is only one element in a far bigger picture. Social media ranks only seventh as a valued tool for employee engagement, well behind the company website (81 per cent) and intranet (79 per cent), as well as a range of offline methods. Talent management knits into all areas of HR. How do we attract? How do we retain? How do we reward? How do we develop? What's the succession plan? What are the desired behaviours? Most HR departments look at all of these areas but not everyone calls it talent management. So while 38 per cent of HR professionals report not having a formal talent management strategy, it may just be that they are delivering talent management – such as recruitment and learning & development – but not formalising their strategy.
Diversity and Inclusion
HR professionals are less satisfied today with the progress being made by formal diversity initiatives compared to a year ago. While over half (52 per cent) said they were happy with the diversity progress being made in their organisation this is down from 59 per cent last year, a significant drop of 7 per cent. Which leads to an important question for all HR professionals: Has diversity progress stalled?
There is a remarkable degree of stability in the HR job market, with HR professionals’ tendency to change jobs remaining the same during the last few years. However, despite this, there appears to be disquiet, with falling levels of job satisfaction reported by HR professionals. The proportion of HR professionals who claimed to be ‘very satisfied’ in their role has dropped from 37 per cent last year to less than a third (32 per cent) today. In what is believed to be a related trend to HR career satisfaction, the past year has witnessed a 7 per cent drop in respondents’ belief that HR has an important role to play in the organisation. This can infuriate HR professionals who believe the role of HR is central to the success of the business and a vital department to ensure business success.
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