People vs Change - the single biggest challenge faced by HR professionals

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The success of most organisations almost always depends on its people, which is why HR is such a fundamental part of any business. But with pressure growing on businesses to adapt to the ever-changing economic spaces they are in, a major challenge is managing their people while at the same time managing change.

The inaugural EEF HR Barometer aims to provide insight and analysis into the state of the HR industry, the challenges faced by real HR professionals, and the advice EEF as an HR partner can provide. Based on a survey of industry professionals, the report included key questions around the major issues and challenges faced by those in HR.

The question: As a HR practitioner, which is your single biggest challenge right now?

Barometerquestion1 

The survey showed that managing change is the most significant challenge for HR professionals today according to 26% of respondents. followed by employee engagement, motivation, satisfaction and retention for a further 20%, then establishing and developing future leaders (11%).

The report states that the bias towards people issues is no great surprise given the current challenging and uncertain business environment, which has seen many UK companies re-aligning and restructuring. This restructuring strategy is all about creating an agile workforce capable of surviving and thriving no matter what the economic situation. And it is often their HR practitioners that they turn to as experts in managing change.

“HR have been dealt a tough hand in recent times, and are often asked to dissipate or mitigate the impact of challenging business conditions,” EEF’s Senior HR Adviser Helen Taylor

The report also highlights that skills is still a significant issue for almost a third of respondents, with 19% saying that recruiting key skills and attracting top talent to the organisation is their biggest challenge, while another 11% say their difficulty is establishing and developing future leaders.

“It’s true that skilled people are the lifeblood of manufacturing businesses. They play a key role in offering solutions to improving productivity.

A combination of the new National Living Wage, the apprenticeship levy and the planned immigration skills charge will create a large additional tax wedge and drive up the costs of employment in the UK.”

How can EEF help?

EEF can help with workforce planning, people management and employee development and retention. From recruiting the right people, to managing the employment relationship to developing and retaining a skilled workforce, we have the range covered. Our advice, guidance and training services cover shop floor to board room. Plus our new apprenticeship levy service provides the practical support you need to get a return from any levy payments.

Are you in HR? Do you agree with the challenges in this report? Join the conversation on Twitter by following @EEF_Insights and use #HRBarometer2016

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Download our report about the key challenges facing HR professionals in UK business.

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