The new “Future of HR Function 2022” survey conducted by the HR Research Institute reveals that many HR professionals are struggling to manage key challenges facing their organizations this year and next. Most admit that they are not prepared for the quickly changing future of work. The consequences could have a far-ranging impact on the health of organizations.
The study suggests that HR professionals are having a crisis of confidence about their value in the workplace as HR becomes more focused on meeting the needs of individual employees in an era of labor shortages.
- Only about two-fifths believe they are good at meeting organizational needs from the perspective of employees,
- Only 17% strongly agree that HR maximizes employee experience and,
- Only 10% strongly agree that they are working on long-term planning to help the organization.
“HR professionals tend to be consumed by current crises. The things keeping them up at night are recruitment, retention, and figuring out the best ways of handling new demands and expectations from workers,” says Mark Vickers, chief research analyst at HR.com. “Many feel as if they still have not mastered the ability to recruit high-quality talent, but they’re also struggling in more strategic areas such as advancing diversity, equity and inclusion, communicating effectively, leveraging people analytics, and preparing for the near future,” he adds.
When HR departments are succeeding, they are an equal partner in the strategic planning process and bring vast benefits to their organizations. The study found that, compared to lower-performing HR departments, higher-performing HR departments are:
- More than three times as likely to be fairly/very successful at enhancing the employee experience.
- More than three times as likely to say HR is proficient/highly proficient at advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion
- Three times as likely to say HR is proficient/highly proficient at executing key initiatives
- More than twice as likely to say HR is proficient/highly proficient at facilitating positive change
- More than twice as likely to say HR is proficient/highly proficient at recruiting high-quality talent.
But many HR departments are under fire. Enhancing employee experience and creating agile workforces are two pressing issues that HR must be prepared to address in the short term, but fewer than half of respondents (43%) rated HR as 8 or above on a 10-point scale in terms of their preparedness to thrive in the next two years.
Other major findings include:
- Only a small proportion of respondents strongly agree with the statements that HR function drives organizational performance (14%), boosts employee performance (13%), and maximizes employee experience (17%). An even smaller proportion strongly agree that the HR function plans for several years out (10%).
- About 35% feel that HR plays a supportive role either by developing a talent strategy after completing strategic planning (11%) or HR is asked for talent-related input during the planning process (22%). 16% say that HR plays no significant role in the strategic planning process.
- Creating a positive corporate culture has become a focus in most organizations since employees more often quit organizations with unappealing cultures. Even here, however, only 20% deem their organization “very successful,” indicating there is much room for improvement in how HR influences culture.
“What these numbers suggest is a crisis of confidence. The new normal in the workplace requires HR people to be confident in their ability to be agile in their approaches to solving the substantial people challenges facing organizations, and not being afraid to communicate the positive impact that they’re having, “ says Debbie McGrath, CEO, HR.com.
The research report “The Future of the HR Function,” can be downloaded here and is sponsored by Circa.
About the Survey
“The Future of the HR
Function” ran in the first quarter of 2022. There were responses from 194
participants with 159 responding to every question. The participants represent
a broad cross-section of employers by the number of employees, ranging from
small businesses with under 50 employees to enterprises with 20,000 or more
employees. Over two-fifths of respondents represent organizations with 500 or
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