In nearly every business, the human resources department is essential. They have a direct impact on hiring, performance, attendance, and production. For this reason, an independent organisation decided to learn more about the current HR situation in Ireland.
PwC’s 2017 HR Directors Pulse Survey explores the biggest challenges and opportunities that human resource departments face. The results are quite insightful and offer a look at how proper employee management can help shape the success or failure of a business.
If there is one sentiment felt throughout this survey, it is that Irish HR leaders are confident about the business environment. They feel that 2017 and beyond should continue to provide room for growth. Though, there are still concerns.
To gain a better perspective on the biggest challenges and opportunities faced by Irish businesses, let us learn more about the results of PwC’s 2017 HR Directors Pulse Survey.
Exploring 6 Key Areas of Human Resource Management
The survey looked at 6 key areas. This allows us to gain a thorough look at the current HR climate. These main categories explored include:
- Skills and workforce planning
- Performance and talent management
- Retaining and rewarding people
- Deploying your people
- HR technology and data analytics
- HR priorities and the HR function
The PwC survey was conducted between October and November of 2016, with a total of 67 HR directors taking part. This includes representation from all industry sectors in Ireland. The respondents can be divided into the following categories:
- 44% – Private companies
- 40% – Multinational companies with offices in Ireland
- 9% – Public companies headquartered in Ireland
- 5% – Public sector
- 2% – Co-operative
By getting a variety of HR directors to take this survey, you get a detailed look at what HR departments are currently dealing with.
Explore each area of the survey. See how the use of advanced workforce management software could be the solution for the most common HR issues.
#1 – Skills and Workforce Planning
The first area to explore is workforce planning. As mentioned, HR leaders seem confident about business growth in the coming year.
Despite this confidence, most HR departments are planning to hire fewer employees in 2017. In fact, 55% of HR directors intend to take on less new talent. This varies from last year’s PwC CEO Pulse Survey, which found 62% of CEOs planning to hire more staff.
Part of this reduction in workforce expansion appears to come from a lack of available talent. Over 75% of respondents said that they are concerned about the talent pool in the region. Finding the people with the skills you need and with a high EQ (Emotional intelligence) can be difficult. (Read more about EQ here)
Specifically, HR directors feel that there is a skill gap in the following areas:
- Information technology (IT)
- Data analytics
Due to this shortage of candidates, a third of HR directors seek talent in other regions.
Businesses in various sectors, particularly the IT sector, are having trouble filling positions. This can get in the way of expansion plans. When you can’t find the right people for the jobs, it’s hard to expand into new markets.
Companies such as Advance Systems in Dublin offer a solution that can streamline the entire talent acquisition process. Offering Recruitment Software Solutions that focuses on Applicant Tracking enables the HR department to acquire talent easily. Its automation, semantic intelligense, and intuitive features help to locate the best candidate for every position based on skillset, distance from the workplace and much more.
How Can Businesses Address These Concerns?
A lack of available talent may not be the only issue keeping HR teams from finding suitable candidates. Other areas that need to be addressed include:
- Employer value proposition
- Higher talent requirements
The “employer value proposition” is the perceived value that you present to a candidate during the recruitment process. This includes everything from pay rates to entitlements.
Only 12% of HR directors claim that their “employer value proposition” is very effective. About 47% called it a work in progress.
The other issue is higher talent requirements. But, a business should not have to sacrifice the need for skilled candidates to fill roles.
If you’re struggling to attract new talent, you should explore these issues. Make sure that they have a well-defined employer value proposition. HR software can help with this step.
Advance Systems HR recruitment module, which is part of our complete workforce management solution, can streamline the recruitment process.
This software will automatically identify job vacancies and store applicant details. You can easily compare applicant CVs to the skill requirements for these vacancies. Businesses can use these tools to find the best person for the job.
#2 – Performance and Talent Management
The next category explored by the PwC survey includes issues related to talent diversity and overall staff performance.
Innovation can drive performance, which is why diversity is essential to a successful workforce. Yet, 45% of businesses don’t have a strategy for attracting a diverse talent pool.
You cannot expect this diversity to occur naturally. A strategy must be put in place to promote diversity. This includes hiring staff with a range of different skill sets, perspectives, and other characteristics.
In fact, fostering this diversity can help attract talent. 79% of HR directors said that their diversity strategy has helped with recruitment, while 70% said that it helped strengthen their overall brand image.
To create this diversity, businesses need to develop effective recruitment and performance management strategies.
Performance management is something that most businesses understand the need for. This is backed by the fact that 97% of businesses use a formal performance management program.
How Can HR Software Help Address Talent Management?
Talent management requires businesses to track the progress of each employee. HR software helps you accomplish this task.
HR software includes performance management solutions to streamline the appraisal process.
You can easily store employee reviews in a central database. Access them before each appraisal to track progress. Managers, supervisors, and employees can make comments directly through the HR system.
By having these appraisals available in a central location, it becomes easier to monitor performance trends. Past appraisals give crucial insights into the development of an individual employee.
Using these tools, businesses can begin improving their talent management strategies. You can identify employees that are ready for advancement or that have a skill set that can help foster more diversity.
#3 – Retaining and Rewarding People
Retaining and rewarding people can also be a part of talent management. There is a greater potential for staff to seek employment elsewhere if they don’t see room for growth in their current place of employment.
The PwC survey shows that most businesses are concerned with employee engagement. 79% of businesses measure engagement. Though, the priorities for achieving this engagement varies:
- 39% of businesses want to create a shared value between the business and the staff
- 28% of businesses seek to improve staff job satisfaction
- 18% of businesses want to improve overall employee performance and productivity
Rewards and incentives are often used to boost employee engagement. 46% of businesses stated that they have a rewards program in place.
These methods are generally used to help retain employees. You need to show your staff that you value their hard work. But, instead of grouping all employees together, HR directors will benefit by considering the needs of individual employees and different employee engagement ideas.
Currently, 96% of Irish HR leaders say that they don’t adjust their rewards based on the generational needs of their staff.
The millennials are the fastest growing segment of the workforce. And, they don’t always have the same priorities as older generations.
When it comes to job satisfaction and incentives, the millennials tend to be more interested in flexibility and employee appreciation. Older generations tend to be more concerned with pay and advancement opportunities.
You don’t always need to offer the same incentives to all employees. You can tailor your rewards strategy to address the needs of your staff and HR software will make it easier.
The HR software can store staff details, with an individual record for each employee. This record can include details such as:
- Pay rates
- Job requirements
- Skill sets
- Personal details
- Past appraisals
The personal details and comments contained in these records allows your HR team to quickly review the development of each employee. You don’t need to lump all your employees together.
This information can be made available to managers and supervisors. The software is customisable, to meet the needs of any business. You can give managers and staff access to these details, for easy reference.
Maintaining these records cuts down on time spent reviewing employee details. Whether it’s the HR department or a manager needing to access an employee’s performance, the information is available with a few clicks of the mouse.
#4 – Deploying Your People
As mentioned, there appears to be a lack of talent in key sectors in the region. This increases the importance of retaining quality employees.
A growing number of businesses are using mobile scheduling to boost job satisfaction. They are allowing more employees to work from home and offering flexible scheduling.
This also allows businesses to hire talent working in nearby regions. And, it attracts younger workers that prefer the flexibility of being able to work from home.
These solutions offer an alternative to relocation for employment.
Dealing with a mobile workforce can be a logistical challenge. This is especially true when you rely on outdated attendance management software.
Time cards and time clocks are not efficient solutions when you have a mobile workforce. Along with HR software, you might benefit from the use of mobile workforce management software.
You can grant employees the ability to clock in or out through a smartphone, tablet, or computer. They can also view their entitlements, schedule, and submit scheduling requests via the system.
The data collected is automatically updated in the central database. This works seamlessly with your in-house staff. If a portion of your team works outside the office and others work within the facility, you can continue managing all employees from a single system.
Managers can monitor mobile data in real-time. As soon as a mobile employee clocks in or out, the system is updated. You also have the option of adding GPS functionality, to ensure employees are where they are supposed to be.
#5 – HR Technology and Data Analytics
Surprisingly, about 39% of HR departments in Ireland don’t use analytics to measure performance. Despite the benefits that these measurements can bring, businesses have been slow to embrace modern HR technology and software.
Though, there is good news on the horizon. 62% of respondents said that they plan on increasing their spending on HR technology.
HR software allows businesses to track key areas of employee performance. But, with limited technology, HR departments are limited in what they can track. 89% of HR directors measure absence rates, which is down 5% from 2015.
This means that 11% of businesses don’t have a system in place for measuring absences. Absenteeism can have a severe impact on overall productivity. When staff repeatedly miss shifts, it can be difficult for other employees to pick up the slack.
Absence management software helps you detect trends in absenteeism and tardiness.
Using a comprehensive workforce management system, employees or managers must enter the reason for an absence.
The system can then flag repeat offenders or detect trends – such as the same reason being given for multiple absences. This helps cut down on employee call-offs.
This also provides a simple solution for enforcing your attendance policy. The software will automatically keep track of the total absences. These infractions can be totalled and trigger an employee evaluation when a specific point total is reached.
The use of these systems takes a great burden off your HR team. This gives the freedom to pursue other goals and work on other tasks.
Another reason for upgrading to a more efficient HR system is to track additional metrics. Along with absence rates, your HR team should be able to track:
- Engagement scores
- Talent performance
- Absence costs
- Development investment
- Cost per employee
Some of these metrics can be invaluable. Yet, most businesses ignore them. Only 25% of HR teams measure productivity. And, only 45% measure the cost of absences.
There is increased interest in these measurements when compared to the PwC survey from 2015. But, the numbers are still surprisingly low.
While most businesses plan on increasing spending on HR technology, many still fear the threat of cyber-attacks. 81% of CEOs find this to be a major concern. And, only 40% of HR directors stated that they are very confident with the security of their systems.
When choosing software that will manage important personal data, cyber security is essential. At Advance Systems, we take security seriously. We want every business to have the confidence to take advantage of the latest HR technology.
#6 – HR Priorities and the HR Function
HR function should drive performance. The HR department is the heart of most businesses, due to their responsibilities.
They are often placed in charge of tracking absences, scheduling issues, recruitment, advancement programs, policy enforcement, employee pay, and time and attendance.
But, certain barriers can prevent an HR department from achieving their goals. When they don’t have the right tools and resources, it can be hard to monitor talent performance.
Lack of proper resources is the biggest concern among HR directors in Ireland. 42% say that they don’t have the resources that they need. 38% say that their HR team lacks appropriate skills and analytics capabilities.
Access to analytics is another advantage of using modern time and attendance software.
With the right analytics, you can track all the metrics discussed. And, you can avoid common staffing issues – such as under or over-staffing. These issues can lead to a productivity drain.
Analytics doesn’t seem to a major concern for HR departments. But, it can help with the top HR priorities. This includes:
- Developing key skills and retaining talent – 45% of HR directors
- Managing staff engagement – 44% of HR directors
- Attracting the right talent – 29% of HR directors
- Improving talent performance – 29% of HR directors
By using various software modules, as part of a complete workforce management solution, you can focus on these HR priorities. You can track skill sets and individual employee performance.
These details help your HR team and managers work with employees to improve their skills and experience. They can develop advancement opportunities and track job vacancies.
As mentioned, 44% of directors want to manage staff engagement. Using an electronic system for tracking time and attendance can help with this step. You can grant employees access to their schedule and their personal details, including past appraisals.
By giving employees more control over these areas, they become more engaged. They can view their holiday pay and make scheduling requests. They can even request shift swaps with other employees.
These steps are handled directly through the system – no paper trail.
The other area of concern was improving talent performance. Again, the right software will help with this step.
When you have a system that tracks every absence, along with important employee details, it becomes easier to track the performance of each employee.
Overall, the PwC survey provided plenty of details as to how HR departments are operating and how they plan to address unstoppable changes – such as the impact of Brexit on hiring non-EU nationals and the need for more talent in the IT field.
There is probably a good chance that your HR department will agree with the main concerns of the 67 HR respondents.
If the details of this survey have uncovered issues within your own business, HR software could provide the perfect answer.
At Advance Systems, you can create your own custom approach to workforce management. Along with HR software, we offer modules for managing time and attendance software, absences, rostering, and employee self-service.
The modules available can help your HR team to improve performance in key areas, such as:
- Absenteeism and tardiness
- Overall employee productivity
- Staff morale and engagement
- Staff job satisfaction
- Individual employee performance
- Talent advancement and skill development
These are among the biggest concerns for the 67 HR respondents. It is not a surprise that most businesses plan on increasing their spending on HR technology.
With the right technology, your HR team can be the driving force behind the growth of your business.
Why work with Advance Systems?
Final Thoughts on HR Management in Ireland
The PwC 2017 HR Director Pulse Survey offers a valuable look at the way HR directors think about issues such as recruitment and employee management. It’s interesting to evaluate their responses.
Some of the input provided was surprising while some were expected. Among the most surprising statistics was that nearly 40% of HR departments don’t have software for analysing employee performance.
Perhaps that is why 62% of HR directors hope to spend more on HR technology.
At Advance Systems, we utilise the latest in HR technology to bring businesses in Ireland the best HR solutions. The main component of these systems is attendance software.
While HR software can help address the issues presented in the survey, attendance software also makes life easier for your HR team. This software can help:
- Reduce labour costs
- Enforce attendance policies
- Remain in compliance with regulations and laws (such as the Working Time Act)
- Increase overall staff productivity
- Boost staff morale and job engagement
The PwC survey also hinted at the increased need for a mobile workforce. More businesses are striving to create a more flexible workplace. This is done to help attract top talent – including the younger generation that prefers flexibility and talent in other countries.
The need for a mobile workforce is not expected to decrease in the coming years. As the millennials become the largest portion of the workforce, businesses will need to adapt.
The priorities of this generation vary from previous generations. They crave recognition and flexibility.
HR software provides HR directors with a way to address these priorities – which should allow businesses to offer a more appealing employer value proposition.
With that said, it is hard to predict what the future will bring. But, it is always better to be prepared for change than to ignore it. As more businesses adopt modern HR technology, other businesses will follow suit – to remain competitive.
If you’re ready to embrace change and prepare for 2017 and beyond, then your HR team needs the right resources. HR software and other modules provide a good place to start.
Learn about workforce management systems and give HR the tools they need to help your business thrive.
Read more about the benefits of HR and analytics here.