We’ve nothing but respect for HR professionals and the ever-expanding remit of their departments.
Responsible for time-consuming but mainly positive things like hiring, diversity & inclusion, staff wellbeing, internal culture, training, and exit interviews is now par for the course. And also the grittier realities of the people side of any business too – from grievances, misconduct and sometimes managing heartbreaking redundancy processes – their plates are spinning, whilst very, very full at the same time!
It’s clear that in the ever-evolving world of business, the role of Human Resource professionals has undoubtedly seen some of the most rapid shifts. Two recent surveys – one from Ciphr and another from Sage – provide a comprehensive picture of where HR stands today and the challenges they face.
Firstly, while there’s a palpable love for the profession among HR leaders – 57% assert they love their jobs – there’s also an undeniable undercurrent of stress.
An eye-opening 62% contemplate leaving the field.
Why, you ask? A lion’s share of the HR professionals, nearly 95%, feels overwhelmed, citing their role as simply “too much work.”
Scratching the surface further, numerous HR professionals reflect on recent years, with:
- 91% expressing that they’ve been particularly challenging.
- 84% frequently finding themselves under stress.
- 81% confessing to feeling burned out.
The changing demands of the job aren’t the only concern; there’s a considerable strain from the environment itself. Nearly 92% of HR leaders feel that surmounting work, limited budgets, scarce resources, and the absence of necessary skills within their teams are barriers they might face as they approach 2024. Furthermore, technology – or the lack thereof – emerges as a pressing concern with as many as 83% pointing to the absence of apt HR technology as a challenge.
Amanda Cusdin, Sage’s Chief People Officer, highlights the urgent need for businesses to adapt. Considering talent shortages and changing workplace dynamics, she advocates for “prioritizing investment in technology and upskilling the HR department.”
These challenges are universal. Our Conscia teams support HR divisions in the public and private sector across the world on a daily basis, and we see our outsourced services being relied upon more and more to lift the hiring and admin load from an increasing number of overextended clients.
However, there’s more than just workload and tech concerns. The surveys hint at a deeper disconnect between HR leaders and C-suite executives. While both agree on the importance of leadership and management skills for HR teams, their views diverge when discussing other vital skills and HR priorities for the coming years.
A poignant reflection from the survey by Sage captures the essence of the evolving HR role: “The rate of change in HR in recent years has been eye-watering.” A significant 91% of HR leaders and an even higher 96% of C-suite executives attest to this change, agreeing that the term “human resources” might not encapsulate the profession’s depth and breadth anymore. Terms like “people function” or “people and culture” are now deemed more apt.
Despite the challenges and stresses, there’s an undeniable optimism among HR leaders about their profession’s future. An impressive 91% look forward to what lies ahead. Still, they’re realistic, with two-thirds expressing concerns about the future and 93% wary of the fluctuating economy.
In conclusion, as we move closer to 2024, HR leaders have voiced what they need to thrive: a combination of upskilling, technological know-how, investments in HR specialties, well-being initiatives, peer-to-peer support networks, organizational support networks, and a broader understanding of HR’s evolving role.
It’s a clarion call for organizations to recalibrate their strategies, ensuring they not only support but also empower their HR teams in these transformative times.