Training tops list of HR priorities for year ahead

HR practitioners expect this to be the year that training comes to the fore, according to research by Personnel Today’s sister publication, Employment Review.

While recruitment, retention and absence management have traditionally topped the priorities list in the journal’s annual HR Prospects survey, they have been toppled this year, with two out of three employers planning to make training their focus.

The survey, now in its sixth year, is based on responses from HR practitioners in 188 organisations, which together employ more than 785,000 people.

More than half those taking part said that recruitment (65%), absence management (63%), retention (63%) and the annual pay review (56%) would also be priorities.

Equal opportunities were a priority for just 25% of manufacturers and 37% of firms in the services sector – but for 77% of public sector bodies. Similarly, equal pay was a priority for just 5% of manufacturers and 11% of services firms, but 53% of public sector organisations.

The figures show that the equal pay campaign by no-win, no-fee lawyers targeting NHS organisations and local authorities, particularly in the north of England, has forced public sector employers to move this issue to near the top of their agenda.

Outside the top 10, other widely cited priorities for the year ahead include focusing on work-life balance (47%), employment relations (48%), and the disciplinary and grievance process (40%).

…While managing change in HR is the toughest task

Restructuring is a priority for relatively few organisations – coming in at tenth place. But it ranks as the most difficult challenge facing any HR department, according to the research.

One in five of all HR departments – and nearly half of those currently going through some sort of restructuring – picked it as the most difficult issue to manage.

Although other challenges were faced by a larger number of HR departments, they were less often thought to be particularly difficult, with recruitment mentioned as a problem by just 13%, absence management and redundancies by 10% and staff retention by 8%.

For more information, go to XpertHR

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