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Opinion: HR Priorities in 2017

Date: 01/25/2017


Author: Elena Badea - Marketing Strategy Consultant

Late last year we published the survey report on the Challenges of a HR Manager. The results of this survey are based on 197 responses received from HR executives, managers and HR specialists, but also from top executives of domestic and foreign companies operating in Romania. What follows are some conclusions drawn from the analysis of the responses to a questionnaire consisting of 20 questions.

According to research findings, the five most important strategic challenges in the area of HR on the agenda of companies (on a scale of 1 - not at all important to 5 - very important) are:
1. Maintaining a high level of employee engagement – score 4.49
2. Retention of employees with high and outstanding performance – score 4.39
3. Providing the leadership skills to help the organization respond to new business requirements and the rapid pace of change – score 4.28
4. Creating an organizational culture (values, beliefs, behaviors) that give the company a competitive advantage – score 4.17
5. Creating and maintaining a learning environment that supports the development needs of employees, including by using the technology – score 4.02.

If we analyze these results depending on the role in company of respondents, we note that there are differences between the answers given by CEOs/executives in the management, HR directors/managers and HR professionals (from expert upwards), and other respondents from the business area, on the 3 most important strategic challenges in the area of HR.

For the CEO and directors in the management, the top 3 HR challenges are the following:
• Retention of employees with high and outstanding performance – 80%
• Maintaining a high level of employee engagement – 64%
• Providing the leadership skills to help the organization respond to new business requirements and the rapid pace of change – 60%

For HR Directors/Managers and HR professionals (up from expert), the top 3 HR challenges are the following:
• Maintaining a high level of employee engagement – 60%
• Providing the leadership skills to help the organization respond to new business requirements and the rapid pace of change – 57%
• Retention of employees with high and outstanding performance – 52%

For the other respondents with various other roles in the company (non-HR), the top 3 HR challenges are the following:
• Maintaining a high level of employee engagement – 66%
• Creating an organizational culture (values, beliefs, behaviors) that give the company a competitive advantage – 53%
• Providing the leadership skills to help the organization respond to new business requirements and the rapid pace of change – 40%

The human capital of each company affects every aspect of its management. The interaction between HR and other business functions has an impact on overall business success. That is why the perception of a company's leaders on human capital and the role of HR function is essential for field professionals to be effective.

This research shows that senior business executives and HR professionals are aware of the challenges facing this function today, but there’s an important difference among those they regard as most important.

So, an alignment is needed. Because only such an alignment will allow them to work together coherently and effectively to overcome the challenges and evolve HR’s position from a transactional role to transformational one, with a truly strategic contribution for the company.
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About the author
For 15 years Elena Badea was Director of Business Development and then Director of Marketing of an international company operating in Romania. She has extensive experience in business development, account management, corporate marketing, operational and digital marketing. She coordinated 38 research on the domestic business environment and entrepreneurship in Romania and was involved in training and coaching for managers and businessmen, but also in social responsibility projects and education. Elena publishes frequently articles and point of views and is invited as a speaker at numerous national conferences on current topics of marketing and business development.

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