Despite advancement to communication, efficiencies and a stronger focus on core business, the disconnect between HR and employees appears "as great as ever", according to in-depth new research on the function.
In fact, according to compiled research by ADP, HR and senior leadership are significantly out of touch with employees' general attitudes and perceptions.
The white paper, Human Capital Management’s Disconnect: A Global Snapshot, summarised these findings from three global studies - one among employees, one among HR decision makers and one among senior leadership (excluding HR) - to help gain a better understanding of the similarities and differences of employee and employer attitudes.
“After twenty years of technological innovation, corporations and their human resources departments still seem to be significantly disconnected from their organisation’s single largest investment – their workforce,” the report stated. "The divide among workers, HR, and senior leadership is profound."
Overall, employees have a much more negative perception of how well their organisations are managing them when compared with what employers think - particularly with regards to compensation, work-life balance, career opportunities and the effectiveness of senior leadership.
With the exception of the United States, employees generally rated the quality of work-life balance in their organisations lower than their HR colleagues did. Senior leadership was also rated almost 20 points lower by staff than HR.
Senior executives and HR leaders were also significantly more satisfied than employees with the processes they have in place for getting employees’ answers to their questions regarding HR and benefits.
“What this study shows is, despite efforts to improve communications and facilitate better relationships between HR, senior leadership and employees, a big gap remains,” Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and head of the ADP Research Institute, said in a press release.
“Companies are operating without a fully engaged workforce, an issue that has to be addressed if they are going to effectively manage their human capital.”
Another key area to note where disconnect occurred the greatest was between employers’ and employees’ perceptions of their organisations' talent management processes.
"Huge differences between HR perceptions and employee perceptions on key human capital management issues mean work remains to be done – and that companies are operating without fully engaged workforces," the report concluded.
"Efficiencies are good. They save money and resources. They can be the foundation for better strategic insight and focus. Efficiencies alone, however, are not effective human capital management."