The Ever Growing Influence of Human Resources

Andrew Simmonds, Associate Director of the Consumer Practice – Asia at Harvey Nash shares key findings from the survey.

More than 1,100 HR professionals from around the world contributed to the 2015 Harvey Nash HR Survey. While the majority of respondents were senior HR decision makers, one in ten were C-level executives and 6 percent of the overall respondent group were Chief HR officers.

What do the results tell us about the changes in the HR market?

The results from this year’s survey suggests HR professionals are growing in influence, but that their increasingly strategic role requires them to respond to a range of HR priorities. Senior executives are demanding more transparency in the HR function and expect HR professionals to report on a wider range of HR metrics than ever before.

HR professionals from APAC are the most open to sourcing talent from overseas (88 percent would consider doing so).

The perception of HR has shifted – with fewer respondents saying they are happy with how HR is perceived (a decrease of 3 percent from last year to 58 percent). HR priorities have also changed. 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 percent this year.

What can we expect to be the main focuses for HR in 2015?

Ageing workforce  – With 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 percent, placing it second in labour market challenges, above skills shortages (which has dropped 8 percent in the last 12 months). In response to these concerns, the majority of HR professionals (54 percent) are willing to source talent from overseas. HR professionals from APAC are the most open to sourcing talent from overseas (88 percent would consider doing so). The world is shrinking, and the growth of technology and the flexibility it offers make acquiring talent from overseas significantly easier. Talent is also increasingly mobile.

Technology – 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.

HR professionals are less satisfied today with the progress being made by formal diversity initiatives compared to a year ago.

Flexible working – HR professionals also anticipate growing demand for flexible working in the year ahead. A third (33 percent) predict they will respond to employee requests for flexible working in the year ahead (up 7 percent from last year), while 28 percent of HR professionals expect employers to initiate the demand for flexible working (up 2 percent). The majority of respondents (53 percent) only have flexible working options for up to 10 percent of staff.

What were the three most interesting findings?

  1. Diversity & 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 percent) said they were happy with the diversity progress being made in their organisation, this is down from 59 percent last year, a significant drop of 7 percent. Which leads to an important question for all HR professionals: Has diversity progress stalled?
  1. HR Career– There appears to be disquiet among HR professionals, with falling levels of job satisfaction. The proportion of HR professionals who claimed to be ‘very satisfied’ in their role has dropped from 37 percent last year to less than a third (32 percent) today. On top of this, the past year has witnessed a 7 percent 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.
  1. Talent Management– Work environment and management style are more important than monetary rewards when it comes to retaining talent. Most HR professionals (90 percent) believe creating a positive work environment is the most effective way to retain employees, while a similar proportion (86 percent) recognise the importance of developing a successful management style. Less than half (47 percent) believe Compensation Systems are important to employee retention.

Any further comments?

The issue of employee wellness is becoming increasingly important, particularly to multinationals in Asia. With the rise in technology, the need to be connected 24/7 is adding an even greater strain to today’s overloaded employees.  Companies are increasingly focusing on the health and wellness of their teams to enhance productivity and promote work/life balance.

Check out Harvey Nash’s The Ever Growing Influence of Human Resources infographic

Image courtesy Harvey Nash.

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