June 5, 2019

What’s keeping HR executives up at night?

Recent research finds that a top concern for senior HR leaders is retaining their top talent. Here, we dive into more of the findings, and tips for addressing these key challenges.

Danielle Ng-See-Quan

Dani is the Managing Editor, Content Marketing at Ceridian.

With the role of HR becoming more strategic and closely tied with the business, today’s changing world of work presents no shortage of challenges for senior HR leaders.

A recent survey from HR Executive investigated what some of their most pressing concerns are this year. The three biggest HR challenges identified by survey participants – 260 HR leaders – are all related to talent. Respondents noted their top three answers as follows: retaining top talent (32.3%), keeping employees engaged and productive (32.3%), and attracting a diverse talent base (26.5%).

HR leaders are concerned about retaining top talent

A total of 72% of respondents said they feel concerned or extremely concerned about losing talent over the next 12 months.

However, very few organisations (almost 6%) rated their engagement levels as very strong. The top three ways that respondents said they plan to boost engagement and retention in the next year are by increasing employee communication (59%), providing training and development (55%), and improving leadership and management training (52%).

Today’s workers want opportunities to learn and develop skills through their jobs. In fact, 86% of employees surveyed in Ceridian’s 2018-19 Pulse of Talent said that it’s important for employers to provide learning opportunities. HR leaders, take note: Pulse of Talent further found that employees who work for companies that provide learning opps are more likely to feel happier with their jobs, and stay longer.

It’s equally important for companies to provide frequent communication, and ensure managers are prepared to lead their teams. As noted in our guide, Rethinking employee engagement: How to engage your modern workforce, 50% of employees leave their jobs because of their managers.

Related: The five keys to ongoing employee engagement

Organisational readiness and looking ahead

According to respondents, the HR discipline most in need of additional staff (respondents were able to select multiple responses) is recruiting (47%), followed by training and development (40%), and general HR (32%).

Just over half said they don’t feel their HR department is staffed to handle its workload – despite the fact that 70% of respondents said the overall size of their department stayed the same in 2018.

When it comes to the future workforce, more than half of respondents said they expect more Baby Boomer employees to retire in the next 12-to-24 months, and more than a third said they expect 4-to-5% of their workforce to retire in the next year.

This highlights an opportunity for organisations to leverage succession planning. Traditionally, while the process has been targeted to mostly senior professionals, leading organisations are implementing succession planning as part of employee growth and development, at every level of the organisation. Not only does it help ensure business continuity and knowledge transfer, but it also helps HR leaders prepare for the future versus being left scrambling to fill roles.

Learn more about how succession planning helps organisations prepare for turnover

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