The 10 Most Important Priorities And Focus Areas Of HR

Working conditions are again top of the agenda of HR managers. This is due to the threat of ‘war for talent’ and the consequences of this for recruitment and retention, according to research by ADP Netherlands, Berenschot, and Performa Uitgeverij. On the basis of the research, the partners have drawn up a list of the ten most important priorities and focus areas of HR.

The HR Trend research of ADP Netherlands, management consultancy Berenschot and Performa Publishing was held among more than 1,000 Dutch HR professionals. The research looks at different human resource issues every year, including strategic priorities, recruitment and selection, labor mobility, market expectations and salaries, and employment conditions.

One of the most important research questions of the annual HR Trends survey is: “what are the themes that will determine the HR policy agenda this and next year”. The answers show that adapting working conditions was the most important policy theme of 2016.

The increasing shortage of talent in combination with economic recovery ensured that HR professionals had more room to adjust the employment conditions policy. The renewed attention, however, seems to quickly decline again – for 2017 it is expected that this agenda item will drop to third place.

10 most important HR policy themes:

The second most important priority in 2016 was setting up and/or adjusting remuneration and performance interviews, followed by setting up or adjusting new training policy. As with the employment conditions policy, the respondents expect that these areas will also have less priority in 2017 – both points drop two places in the predicted priority list for the current year.

The sustainable employability policy is expected to increase in importance. In 2016, sustainable employability was still in fourth place with key HR priorities. In 2017, according to respondents’ expectations, this is at the top of the agenda. In 2016, the top five was closed due to issues surrounding the applied approach to absenteeism and reintegration. For 2017, however, this point seems much less important.

The respondents put this theme for 2017 in tenth place in the priority list. A newcomer in the top five of 2017 is the strategic staff planning, which was the sixth priority in 2016, but is expected to be in second place in 2017.

The rest of the top 10 in 2016 consisted of (partially) automating the personnel and/or salary administration, strengthening labor market communication and employer branding, guiding or implementing reorganizations and setting up or adjusting talent management policy. It is expected that only the policy theme ‘ reorganizations’ will disappear from the top ten of these points. The ninth place is expected to be taken over in 2017 by giving substance to the Participation Act.

What is striking, according to the researchers, is that it remains difficult to accurately predict HR priorities in advance. Hans van der Spek, Senior Managing Consultant at Berenschot and co-author of the research, says: “If we look at the top 10 HR policy themes of 2016 and compare them with the estimates made by the respondents last year, we see that only three of the ten in 2016 are at that position that was assessed by the respondents in 2015.

The themes employment conditions policy and the assessment cycle are considerably more prominent than were estimated in 2016. This also applies to strengthen the labor market communication/employer branding that has entered the top ten. “

HR focus areas:

In addition to the HR policy themes, the respondents also indicated which issues they think demand the most every day. At the top of the list are absenteeism and reintegration – 93% of the respondents indicate that they are working on this every day. Immediately below are employment law matters with 92% and primary and secondary employment conditions with 91% of the respondents. 87% spend a lot of time taking care of the personnel administration, while 86% mention recruitment and selection (including testing and assessment) as a time-consuming activity.

10 most important HR focus areas:

Job evaluation is the last activity of which more than 80% of the respondents indicate that they are working on it daily, by 81%. This is followed by action as a sparring partner for (line) management and working conditions and well-being, both with 79%. At the bottom of the top 10, but still with more than 70%, are training policy and management (73%) and external mobility, outplacement and dismissal (72%). Internal mobility, career counseling and coaching fall just outside the top 10 with 71% spending time on this every day.

What is striking is that there is a mismatch in some areas, according to Van der Spek. “If we look at the overview of the facets of HR existence then (b) the policy themes seem to receive less attention than you would expect based on the prioritization.”

Change in function:

As in previous years, a large proportion (60%) of HR professionals expect their function to change in the coming year. This aggravation mainly involves an expansion of the range of duties and a change in the tasks to be performed.

It is expected that especially the advisory function (HR advisors and HR business partners) and the managerial position (HR Manager / HR Manager) will make a radical change. The functions of a personnel officer, employee payroll and employee human resources have the greatest chance of disappearing predict the respondents, as their tasks are increasingly automated.

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