What’s keeping HR professionals awake at night?

HR professionals kept awake at nightIt’s 10 pm: you’ve survived the commute to and from work, meetings, emails, making dinner and perhaps done some exercise. You should be relaxing after your hectic day, but you can’t quite relax. Your mind is ticking over and reliving parts of your working day and you’re wondering what tomorrow will bring.

It’s a situation that many of us are familiar with: worries about work keeping us awake at night when we should be sleeping. But what are those concerns for HR professionals?


Benefits Canada recently asked people in their 2015 Benefits + Pension Survey, what’s keeping them up at night. The top five worries were rising HR costs, increasing staff absence, organisational change, employee engagement and increasing drug costs.


Rising HR costs

There are a number of factors that that effect HR costs. These include elements such as reward and recognition programme effectiveness, employee benefit provision, managing staff absence, training and development, talent management, and recruitment and retention.

HR professionals are being challenged in all these area, and particularly they are under pressure to effectively manage benefit and reward programmes and maximise the return on investment here.

To maximise the return on investment on HR programmes they must be closely aligned to the overall organisational strategy and objectives, be monitored to ensure that remain effective and adapt to suit the changing of the workforce.


Increases in staff absence

Increasing staff absence levels not only result in reduced employee productivity, but it also increases the pressure and stress on team members who are trying to cover the absent employees role while still performing in their own.

HR professionals also need to be aware of presenteeism, and the impact that has on organisations. Presenteeism could cost employers two to seven times more than absenteeism due to reduced performance and productivity due to ill health while at work.

Managing employees’ ill health is a sensitive issue, a monitoring system can help highlight issues but discussions between managers and employees that support and resolve underlying issues can often be the key to success.


Organisational change

Change is a constant in every organisation: sometimes the organisation is growing, sometimes it needs to downsize. But a failure to properly manage organisational change can create issues for the employees and the organisation, as well as affect the culture of the organisation.

The key to successfully managing the change process is developing an effective strategy that focuses on what needs to change, what resources are needed and how it will be effectively communicated. It also needs to consider the impact on all levels of the workforce and the organisation’s customers.


Employee engagement

I love my workEmployee engagement is a vital ingredient in the success of an organisation. After all, it’s the employees who work to deliver the organisation’s vision and goals.

Engaged employees believe their role and contribution are crucial to the success of the organisation, feel valued, actively support management’s strategies and are passionate about their employer.

Putting aside issues over pay, benefits and rewards, a critical driver of employee engagement is communication. A range of communication tools are needed to ensure all employees are kept up-to-date, senior leaders and managers need to communicate the vision and goals of the organisation, and employees need forums and tools for communicating ideas and feedback up the management change.

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A practical guide to creating the right work environment and addressing individual needs in order to improve engagement amongst your employees.

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Drug cost management

While this might not specifically apply to us in the UK, it highlights the importance of ensuring our employees’ wellbeing.

The health and wellbeing of your staff is fundamental to the success of your organisation. Although there is a cost to employee wellness programmes, the benefits on the bottom line can deliver a significant return on investment: healthy, stress-free employees result in higher levels of motivation and performance, improved staff retention and lower staff absence.

A holistic approach that is proactive rather than reactive and that focuses on the health issues faced by your employees, manages ill health and offers initiatives that prevent illness and promote wellbeing will deliver the best results.


John Sylvester

John is responsible for the motivation division of p&mm ltd and a Director on the board of the IPM. Specialising in developing, implementing and directing many large scale staff motivation, recognition and employee communications programmes.
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