What’s Keeping HR Up at Night?

Each year, Human Resource Executive® asks readers to participate in their annual "What's Keeping HR Up at Night?" survey, a poll designed get a handle on the issues that are currently causing HR leaders the most stress. 

This year, they found -- as they have for the past three years -- that keeping employees engaged and productive remains the No. 1 task that keeps HR professionals tossing and turning. 

When asked to name the three biggest HR challenges facing their organization today, 34 percent of this year's 305 respondents cited maintaining employee engagement and productivity, followed by attracting and retaining diverse talent (27 percent) and developing leaders (26 percent). 

When a company can't keep its employees happy, those employees start to leave in large numbers. Employers remain painfully aware of this reality. When asked to rate their concern over losing talent in the next 12 months, with 5 being "extremely" concerned, 63 percent classified their level of concern as a 5 or a 4. 

According to the March 10 HREonline.com article by Mark McGraw, the annual employee survey is no longer enough to help organizations understand what drives employee engagement. Instead, most large companies today are actively supplementing annual 'deep-dive' surveys with more ongoing, continuous input from employees through shorter, more focused pulse surveys, as well as conducting regular surveying of employees as they join and leave the organization. 

The survey also found that it's not as if employers and HR leaders are sitting on their hands while talented workers walk out on them, as evidenced by the 38 percent of respondents counting "employee relations" as one of the three areas in which they're currently spending the majority of their time. Twenty-eight percent said the same about talent management and leadership development, respectively, with another 23 percent putting employee engagement in their top three. 

Succession planning, on the other hand, seems to be something HR leaders aren't devoting as much energy to. For example, 63 percent of respondents told HRE their organizations have no succession plan in place for the CHRO position. While HR leaders could play a role in lowering that number, there are, as always, factors beyond CHROs' control that are also contributing to their stress levels. 

Compliance with the Affordable Care Act remains an issue, as it has since the ACA's enactment in 2010.

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