January 15, 2019

Less than a fifth of employees are happy with their HR departments: report

A new report on the current state of HR and talent practices puts the spotlight on the fact that there’s room for improvement in organizations of all sizes. How does yours stack up? Read more key findings from the report.

Here’s an interesting statistic about the current state of HR practices: According to a new survey of HR professionals, only 17% said they believe employees are very satisfied with their HR department’s performance.

That finding comes from the latest HR and Talent Management Benchmarking Report, conducted by HR.com (and sponsored by Ceridian). The survey on which the report is based gathered responses from more than 600 HR professionals, mainly from North America, but with responses from India, the U.K, Nigeria, South Africa, and Australia.

What does it mean that HR professionals feel their employees aren’t satisfied with their performance?  There’s room for improvement when it comes to retention practices, and how HR leaders use technology in talent management.

The good news is that HR departments are growing – both in their size and in their influence in organizations, which is an opportunity for HR professionals to leverage that influence to improve talent management strategies. Here, we further explore some key findings from the report.

HR departments are becoming more efficient, and more likely to grow

The report found that HR departments are overall remaining stable in terms of their size, and are three times more likely to grow than shrink.

Why? Tech advancements are helping HR professionals to automate time-consuming tasks, such as maintaining employee records and managing time-off requests, so that their departments can operate more efficiently. The growth comes from the fact that they’re better able to spend more time on deeper issues and human interaction instead of dealing with redundancy and error.

HR is also continuing to become a strategic partner in business, and growing its ability to do more advanced work, which is also a function of using technology.

It’s important to note that HR departments in larger organizations, with 1,000 or more employees, were more volatile in terms of changing size. The report states that this is likely due to larger organizations being more likely to engage in restructuring, implement automation, or engage in mergers.

How well is HR doing its job? Download the report to learn more

There’s room for improvement when it comes to retention practices

An important callout noted earlier in this post is that only 17% of survey respondents said that they believe employees are very satisfied with HR’s performance. Further, only 11% said their department’s performance is far above average. A little more than half, 54%, are somewhat satisfied. overall,The report states that these findings hint at weaknesses in HR’s engagement and retention efforts – an opportunity for HR to improve its performance.

Another area that needs improvement? Resolving conflicts. Only a quarter of respondents said their department excels at doing this, and another quarter said their department shows no effectiveness at all in this regard. This, too, points to a retention challenge – tension levels affect employee experience and engagement.

The report suggests that HR professionals need to reinforce conflict resolution as a foundational component of HR, making it part of larger discussions about culture and retention.

Related: Do your employees think that you value their work?

Organizations aren’t leveraging talent analytics regularly or often

The report revealed that overall, organizations don’t have high rates of usage when it comes to talent analytics. Just 25% of survey respondents said they regularly use data to describe and assess basic HR performance, and only 16% use data to predict talent outcomes. The majority of organizations participating in the survey don’t use talent analytics at all.

But simply adopting metrics and analytics for its own sake isn’t a guarantee of success. The report states HR must combine its own metrics with other business areas, learn how data can reveal company-specific issues, and influence both workforce- and business-related decisions. A strategic approach to talent analytics with the right technology in place is a step towards doing this successfully.

Related: Five ways that data helps HR be more strategic

How top-performing HR departments stand out

The report also highlighted the areas in which high-performing HR departments stand out, presenting opportunities for HR leaders to prioritize these areas going forward.

No surprise here, but high-performing HR departments were more likely to report that they feel employees are satisfied with their performance. In this vein, high performers reported that they were more effective at conflict resolution.

Additionally, the report found that high performing HR functions are more likely to use talent analytics and data to describe and predict talent outcomes.

Learn more about how high-performing HR departments stand out: Download the report

Danielle Ng-See-Quan

Dani is the Senior Manager, Content Marketing at Ceridian.

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