This year, according to a survey commissioned by Cascade HR, employee engagement has clinched the top spot, cited by 41% of HR professionals as their biggest worry.
Polling 447 HR directors, managers and executives, next on the list of concerns was staff retention (36%), absence management (33%), recruitment (33%), with succession planning in fifth place (26%).
Similar themes came up when asked to reflect about the biggest headache for HR in 2017 with recruitment ranked as the clear front-runner at 52%, followed by absence management, (43%), employee engagement (39%), retention (37%), and learning and development (20%).
On the other hand, when asked about the areas HR professionals believe their teams have excelled in throughout 2017, topics such as recruitment (38%), learning and development (37%) and absence management (31%) reared their heads again.
Commenting on the findings, Oliver Shaw, Cascade HR's CEO, said: "Whilst these issues have been cited as challenging, they also highlight the concerted efforts that HR professionals have made to succeed in these respects."
"It just goes to show that, when it comes to difficulties within this landscape, HR does not sit still. So, whilst 2018 may present ongoing challenges, I think teams are equipped to tackle them," Shaw added.
The survey also found that about half of respondents expect their HR budget to remain the same (43.62%) or increase (13.87%) in 2018, while 30.65% are unsure of what will happen to their budgets and 11.86% expected a decrease in budget.
On the trend of automation, about half (50.11%) of HR professionals felt automation has a partial role to play in the HR department becoming more effective and efficient, and 44.97% thought it automation is imperative if the HR department is to become more effective and efficient.
The survey revealed that 44.07% of HR professionals felt their organisations are not doing enough to help employees reach their full potential while only 33.11% thought they have done enough on their part.
Interestingly, 22.82% are unsure if they have equipped their employees with the tools needed to succeed.
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