After one of the most difficult years of their careers, HR leaders are focused on the future and have a clear vision for creating and maintaining engaged, skilled teams.
A new survey of HR leaders shows that they have a broader role than ever to play and that they are laser focused on building skilled, engaged teams.
Specifically, HR professionals are targeting:
- Employee HR self-service as a key initiative (81%)
- Measuring workplace productivity and efficiency (80%)
- Staff training and development programs (79%)
- Building a plan for the return to the office (77%)
- Developing remote work arrangements (76%)
Seven in 10 HR professionals say this has been among the most challenging years in their careers. However, the vast majority say the are integral to the strategic decision-making in their organizations; and they are committed to creating and maintaining engaged, empowered, and productive teams.
Among the comments from respondents:
- “My company is emphasizing the importance of technology to help keep employees and managers connected.”
- “We are focused on training of employees. Remotely, this can be challenging, so we are trying new tools.”
- “There is an innate connection between productivity, training, technology, and workplace flexibility.”
Nearly all (98%) of HR leaders say that the pandemic has transformed their role on these top issues:
- Workforce health and safety
- Employee mental health and emotional well-being
- The need for technology that keeps employees, managers, and HR teams connected
The challenges they face in their efforts to strengthen their workforces moving forward: attracting talent (61%); planning/managing diversity, equity, and inclusion (57%); offering competitive benefits (57%); staying current on HR technology/solutions (57%); and keeping up and complying with regulations (56%).
Not surprisingly, HR professionals are interested in ways to use to technology to improve communication, employee engagements, training, and more. They say that tech solutions enable them to be more strategic in their roles (88%), let HR systems talk to each other/integrate effectively (88%), improve the employee experience (86%), and allow workers to be more efficient and productive (86%).
A majority (80%) of survey respondents say they have tools in place to measure workplace productivity and efficiency. As for technology’s role in communication, HR leaders say that it’s possible for teams to collaborate more easily than before the pandemic. They also indicate that it’s easier for employees and managers to collaborate.
Employee mental health has gained significant attention in the last year. Only 4% of survey respondents say they don’t see employee mental health as an employer responsibility. At the same time, 52% feel it’s important to support mental health challenges related to the pandemic. Nearly half (40%) of HR leaders “increasingly see” a link between employee mental health and productivity, and company profitability.
Over 40% of survey respondents say they are prioritizing initiatives such as promoting mental health and resource awareness, offering online communication tools to keep managers and employees connected, and providing support for work issues such as adjusting to a new role or managing work responsibilities. They also are providing technology to facilitate responsiveness and confidential communications on HR-related questions and offering flexible schedules.
Read the full report here.