The top three HR needs according to this survey, are performance management, talent analytics, and learning cultures.
Improving performance management is a top HR challenge. Nearly three-quarters of organizations have a strong, immediate need for accurate measures of employee performance. The survey also clarifies the motive behind the performance management issue; organizations want to do a better job of differentiating rewards based on individual employee contributions. Nearly two-thirds of participants said that differentiating employee rewards based on performance is a significant need for their organization.
Other critical needs for a majority of HR functions in 2015 include: using workforce analytics to improve business performance, fostering a continuous improvement and learning culture, creating inventories of workforce capabilities, and offering employees opportunities for career advancement.
In addition, the survey confirmed soft-skills training and development is a top workforce need at a majority of organizations.
HR Predictions for 2020
By 2020, HR expects to have made progress in measuring employee performance with accuracy. By then, two-thirds of organizations represented in this survey are extremely likely to be evaluating employees on results achieved and not hours worked.
Another top priority expected to be met by 2020 is analytics. Fifty-nine percent of participants anticipate that their organization, in the next five years, will use predictive analytics to improve employee engagement and retention.
By 2020, HR expects employee soft skills will have improved but will still fall short of business needs.
Seventy percent of participants said that the workforce at their organization will have greater soft-skills competence by 2020. Yet, fifty-six percent of participants said that soft skills shortages are extremely likely to hinder their organization’s business growth in 2020.
Organizations also anticipate leadership and technical skills shortages in 2020. Sixty-five percent said leadership shortages will hinder the growth of their organization by 2020. Half of participants believe technical skills shortages will hinder business growth.
Performance Management: Suggested Actions
- Update job descriptions.
- Refine performance goals.
- Adjust the rating scale.
- Train managers and employees to give and receive feedback.
- Streamline with tools and technology.
Talent analytics involve using HR and workforce data to make informed business decisions. Many organizations are interested in using talent analytics to manage HR and workforce costs, as well as boost workforce and business productivity. APQC research has shown that most organizations are just getting started with talent analytics but those organizations that have made progress reap benefits. For example,
APQC research has also found that compared to other HR functions, strategic HR functions use HR data and analytics to actively consult with the business.
Talent Analytics: Suggested Actions
- Don’t be intimidated.
- Don’t try for 100 percent data accuracy.
- Don’t forget that the real end goal is improved performance.
- Don’t stop at reporting. Be consultative too.
Organizations are challenged in training and developing their workers, facing significant time and cost limits. As a result, many organizations are seeking to foster continuous learning and improvement cultures. In learning cultures, feedback is a regular part of the business day. Development occurs both formally in the classroom and informally in the course of doing one’s job. Knowledge sharing and crossfunctional collaboration are fundamental, by providing employees with learning materials and experiences that eventually fuel career advancement.
Learning Cultures: Suggested Actions
- Train and develop employees on-the-job.
- Give employees the tools and time to share their knowledge with each other.
- Use technology to manage and deliver learning.
- Offer career paths and career planning tools to guide employee learning.