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Cath Everett

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HR can do complicance but struggles with strategy, says survey


Although HR professionals are performing well in dealing with tactical statutory compliance issues, they are failing miserably in more strategic areas such as mapping and managing staff competencies.

These are the key findings of a survey among HR directors and board members in 53 organisations across Europe undertaken by HR services provider Aon Hewitt. The research found that not one respondent expected to exceed corporate targets when tackling staff competency issues, anticipating employee expectations or ensuring a good mix of ages in the workforce.
Some 83% also admitted that they were below par in delivering work-life balance programmes, while 75% said they were not performing in relation to ensuring workforce and management diversity.
But almost half complained that their involvement in making strategic business decisions that affected people management policies and practices was too little too late – despite the fact that 83% believed that their chief executive had high or very high levels of perception as to what they did and the relationship was a co-operative one.
Leonardo Sfoza, Aon Hewitt’s head of EU affairs and research, said a culture of HR excellence was widely seen as a critical success factor for sustainable business success.
But he warned: “Without a renewed joint engagement by HR professionals, line of business leaders and managers, it will be difficult to overcome the current bottleneck and to ensure that HR excellence becomes the norm rather than the exception in far more organisations.”
Nonetheless, three out of five respondents expected to see boost their functional expertise in developing leadership and talent over the next three years. A further 57% anticipated boosting skills in relation to change management, while 52% thought they would be providing more strategic advice to management.
Only just under one in five expected to see changes to their role in terms of risk management, however. As a result, Sfoza said: “This is an area that seems considerably under-estimated by HR leaders. Companies would benefit from much greater attention than is currently the case given the broad spectrum of people-related risks that many undermine corporate reputation, performance and safety.”


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