The newly released Paychex “Pulse of HR” survey found that talent and technology are the two primary factors impacting HR leaders this year. Available here, survey results revealed that organizations must prioritize attracting the right candidates and optimize their productivity once onboard.
A historically tight labor market, fast-changing legislative landscape, and an increasing reliance on HR technology all play a role in HR leaders’ evolving job responsibilities. More HR leaders, however, feel they have a voice in company strategy and decisions today (90 percent) than in the previous two years (80 percent in 2018 and 2017), according to the survey.
“The strategic contributions HR leaders make are bolstered by innovative technology solutions that not only dramatically reduce time spent on administrative tasks but can also provide valuable insights on their workforce and the business overall,” said Leah Machado, Paychex senior director of HR services. “With more time, information, and resources, HR professionals are better positioned to successfully address the evolving, complex HR needs of both employees and the organization.”
As part of their role, HR leaders are leveraging the following top five tactics in 2019 to help shape business success:
- Evaluate workplace productivity and efficiency (86 percent).
- Provide staff training and development programs (83 percent).
- Facilitate trainings for discrimination and harassment prevention (82 percent).
- Focusing on company culture to drive results (80 percent).
- Assessing employee performance more than once per year (80 percent).
Combating the Tight Labor Market
For the first time in this survey’s three-year history, attracting talent surpassed regulatory compliance as the top HR concern. More than two-thirds of HR leaders said it is difficult to find and hire quality candidates, up from 59 percent last year. As a result of these challenges, HR teams are increasingly willing to train job candidates who may not check all of the boxes for required skills.
“Improving the quality of new hires is our biggest challenge,” said one survey respondent. “There is fierce competition for employees in our area, most of the good ones are already working.”
HR Tech Driving HR Success
Eighty-seven percent of survey respondents agreed that HR technology has strengthened their contribution to corporate success, up from 75 percent in 2018. Part of making strategic contributions is relying on data to make the right recommendations. For the first time since launching the survey in 2017, a full 100 percent of respondents said that they rely on HR analytics in some capacity with the most prevalent being to:
- Make more informed decisions (90 percent).
- Defend their decisions to corporate employees (89 percent).
- Understand how to communicate with employees (89 percent).
According to the Paychex research, leveraging technology tools also lends a hiring edge, as 81 percent of respondents said that their company’s tech investment will allow them to maintain or grow their headcount and increase employee productivity. As such, HR technology tops the list of HR spending priorities. Among the two-thirds of HR professionals surveyed whose department budgets are increasing, technology investment topped the list of ways they would like to spend the additional funds.
“My single biggest strategic contribution to my company was helping it automate its HR processes,” said one survey respondent. “Before, everything was manual. Now, we have all our work online.”
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