HR.com: Attention HR Executives: 4 key areas of focus in 2016

Originally Published in HR.com | January 23, 2016 | By Paul Mandell

Whether through recruiting or determining benefits and compensation, Chief Human Resource Officers must balance retaining top talent and fostering a culture of innovation and growth. Given the increasingly complex modern work environment and changing work force, today’s HR executives are being pulled in more directions than ever. To provide greater insight to support these executives, Consero Group surveyed leaders of HR departments at Fortune 1000 companies late last year. The results yielded useful information that will help HR Officers focus on core issues in the year ahead. Here are four key areas that will be of special focus to HR executives in 2016:

1. Need for Greater Data Insight and Suitable Technology: Using the right technology to derive actionable insight from company data allows Chief HR Officers to set their organizations apart and find the right talent to help drive the growth of their companies. And yet, nearly three-quarters (72%) of Chief HR Officers say they are not satisfied with the level of insight they extract from their company data. In addition, only 34 percent of Chief HR Officers reported that their current HR Information Systems (HRIS) meet the needs of their HR operations. Eighty-one percent of HR executives surveyed considered the procurement of new technology by their department to be at least a medium priority, while 48 percent considered it a high priority. Finding a suitable HR Information System and focusing on extracting actionable insights from company data will be critical issues for these executives in 2016.

2. Focus on Achieving a Reduction in Healthcare Costs from Corporate Wellness Programs: Corporate wellness programs have become much more common in the U.S., with 72 percent of CHROs reporting they have a program in place. Despite this increased focus, only 30 percent of Chief HR Officers reported that their corporate wellness program achieved a significant reduction in healthcare costs. The fact that a majority of CHROs have not seen return on investment suggests that change of some kind is needed.

3. Paternity Leave as a Competitive Benefit Offering: Part of recruiting and retaining top talent involves managing a competitive and comprehensive compensation and benefits package. There is an increased focus on work-life balance and corporate wellness in today’s workforce. HR departments can find value in benchmarking with peers on what perks to offer to remain competitive and keep employees engaged. Paid paternity leave is one way that 34 percent of HR executives are accommodating an increased desire for work-life balance. While 64 percent of companies do not offer paid paternity leave as a benefit, there may be increased growth in this area in years to come.

4. Talent Development and Retention Continued Top Concerns: The Chief HR Officer must coordinate various ongoing efforts to manage an organization’s most important resource—its employees. A quarter of surveyed CHROs identified a lack of qualified talent to meet company hiring needs as their department’s biggest impediment. Given this finding, it is understandable that 20 percent of CHROs considered company-wide talent development and retention to be top priorities for the next 12 months. These findings indicate that, while the Chief HR Officer is tasked with a number of duties related to workforce management, recruiting and managing top talent remain key areas of focus.

The Bottom Line

While today’s Chief HR Officers are pulled in many directions, there are several key areas of focus that are capturing particular attention. A focus on talent development and retention, competitive benefits like paternity leave that deliver ROI, a sophisticated HR Information System, and the extraction of useful insight from company data will be critical issues for these executives in the year ahead. S&P