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Attracting Talent Remains Top Challenge for HR Professionals in U.S.

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As the way people work continues to shift, recruiting top talent is the most challenging task for HR professionals.

The fifth annual report from HR software and services company Paychex on recruiting and retaining talent reveals that 61% of HR leaders think recruiting talent is their biggest challenge. Here’s what else the survey details.

COVID-19 transformed the role of HR professionals

An overwhelming 98% of HR leaders said the pandemic has reshaped their roles. The main areas of focus, respondents said, have become:

  • Workplace health and safety
  • Employee well-being and mental health
  • Technology that keeps HR, managers and workers in sync

And the top challenges these HR leaders now face are:

  • Attracting talent (61%)
  • Planning and managing diversity, equity and inclusion — DE&I — initiatives (57%)
  • Offering competitive benefits (57%)
  • Staying on top of current HR technology (57%)
  • Keeping current and complying with regulations (56%)

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What HR professionals are spending on

HR professionals seem to be spending to attract and retain talent. According to respondents, money is going toward making improvements to technology, recruiting, benefits and training. Last, they’re investing in new staff.

But attracting and retaining talent is a major hurdle that HR leaders face, so it doesn’t help internally that employee engagement has seen a steep decline of more than 50% in the past year. To try to combat this and keep workers engaged, HR leaders are:

  • Helping employees develop new skills (45%)
  • Empowering employees to suggest new projects and work methods (39%)
  • Regularly conducting employee surveys on job satisfaction (39%)

Meanwhile, to retain employees, HR leaders are:

  • Offering remote options (41%)
  • Providing financial incentives (41%)
  • Providing flexible work options (38%)

Developing a work culture — and the rise of remote work

Whether team members are in the office or remote, 76% of HR professionals feel workplace culture is integral to recruiting and retention. So in the past year, HR leaders have:

  • Developed training programs (40%)
  • Provided flexible and remote work options (39%)
  • Made an effort to communicate company culture to workers (35%)

To help with employee retention, 77% of HR professionals are creating remote work plans. These arrangements would be for those whose positions allow for remote work or for those who can make a case to work from home.

As for how HR leaders plan to manage remote workers better, they’ll:

  • Implement a system to help plan and track check-ins between managers and employees
  • Offer online communication tools to help managers and employees stay in sync
  • Support employees with policies and programs to maintain a work/life balance

Returning to the office

While remote working culture is certainly on the rise, 77% of HR decision-makers are planning for a return to the workplace in various forms.

The main reasons why some HR leaders would like team members back in the office include improved morale, business requirements and employee productivity and efficiency. However, only half (51%) of companies say they’re well-prepared to return to the office.

By industry, here’s the percentage of businesses that plan to return to the office fully:

  • Retail (30%)
  • Computer software (28%)
  • Manufacturing (25%)
  • Financial services/accounting/bookkeeping (23%)

Methodology: Paychex conducted an online survey of 1,000 HR leaders at companies in the U.S. with 20 to 500 employees, fielded from May 11 to June 3, 2021.

 

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