HR leaders reveal their 2019 challenges in new survey
HR leaders reveal their 2019 challenges in new survey

In late June, Paychex released the results of its third annual Pulse of HR Survey, which polled over 300 human resources decision-makers about the challenges they're facing in 2019. After analyzing the results, researchers found that talent and technology are having the biggest impact on HR leaders across the U.S., with many professionals placing increased emphasis on employee productivity and integrated tech solutions. The survey offers a glimpse into current trends within the HR landscape and may yield valuable insights that can help businesses improve their hiring and employee retention practices moving forward.

First, it's important to note that state and federal legislation is having a transformative effect on the job responsibilities of HR leaders, with more time being spent bringing their organizations into compliance. Today's competitive labor market is also playing a role in this evolution, as is the growing reliance on HR technologies. Overall, HR professionals are spending less time on administrative tasks, allowing them to actively contribute to their companies' financial stability and growth. In fact, around 90% of survey respondents felt they had a direct hand in their organizations' business strategies, but what specific tasks are they performing?

Top 5 HR tactics that are shaping operational success
As part of Paychex's survey, HR leaders were asked about the steps they're taking to help their companies adapt to the fast-changing needs of modern workers. Currently, more than one-third of labor force participants in the U.S. are millennials, according to the Pew Research Center, which is having a disruptive effect on traditional hiring and retention models. More so than previous generations, millennials tend to prioritize positive workplace culture and work/life balance. This has put pressure on HR leaders who want to attract top talent, leading to a number of employee-focused initiatives that seek to accommodate millennial preferences. Here are the top five tactics HR leaders are using to shape business success in 2019:

  • Evaluating productivity and efficiency (86%)
  • Offering training and career development programs (83%)
  • Combating discrimination and harassment through prevention initiatives (82%)
  • Improving company culture to drive employee satisfaction (80%)
  • Assessing staff performance more than once per year (80%)
HR manager looks for employees using technologyHR technologies have allowed companies to streamline their hiring practices and locate top talent.

Talent and technology
In a press release on Paychex's website, the company noted that 2019 marked the first year attracting talented applicants outweighed regulatory compliance as the top concern for HR leaders. More than 75% of respondents believe it is becoming increasingly difficult to locate and onboard high-quality candidates, find individuals who fit into their company culture and retain their best employees. To overcome these staffing challenges, HR professionals are looking to implement new hire training initiatives to bring under-qualified candidates up to speed. The survey found that 85% of respondents would be willing to upskill applicants who did not possess the right set of technical qualifications, while 78% said their companies had already begun moving in this direction.

Another notable change in the field is visible in the near-ubiquitous nature of HR technologies, as a full 100% of survey respondents reported leveraging HR analytics in some capacity. The most prevalent use cases include making more informed decisions (90%), justifying their results to C-suite executives (89%) and understanding how to effectively communicate with a wider range of employees (89%). Increased access to data has also allowed HR leaders to make strategic contributions to their companies' overall success, especially when it comes to hiring. Around 81% of respondents believe their organizations' tech investments will enable them to maintain or grow their employee bases and increase productivity in the long term.

Adapting to rapid changes in the modern labor market has been difficult for companies that fail to recognize how hiring and employee retention trends impact their bottom lines. Luckily, there's no shortage of surveys that can help HR leaders prepare for the future of work and build a labor force with real staying power.

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