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HR for HR - why it’s time to focus on your own needs

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Every HR professional in the world knows that effective attraction and retention strategies are vital to ensure a constant pipeline of top talent required to meet business objectives. During times of skills shortages, they know to look beyond pay to what else can entice potential employees or encourage current staff to stay.

HR professionals are continually thinking about others within their organisations. They are eager to understand the differences between how to attract Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Z. They seek to ensure men and women have equally high levels of job satisfaction and progression opportunities. They want to know what benefits are most sought after by different types of professionals.

The missing link

However, there is one group which is often left out of such thoughtful considerations: HR workers themselves. This is short-sighted. HR professionals also need to manage and nurture their own teams, and retain and attract the best HR talent. Without this, HR departments may find themselves lacking those crucial strategic skillsets which allow them to have a seat at the decision-making table.

Despite working to ensure their organisations are attractive and employees are fulfilled professionally, does anyone really know what HR employees want? Or is HR destined to be the profession of the cobbler’s children with no shoes?

In our recent What Workers Want Report 2017, we looked at what motivates employees from across many professions to stay in a current role, or to accept a new job. Crucially, we also took into account what influences the career decisions of HR professionals, and what it is that they want.

1. A comprehensive and bespoke benefits offering

HR professionals are interested in tailored benefits offerings. This is perhaps unsurprising for a group with both a thorough understanding of the range of rewards and benefits options that organisations can offer, as well as the tangible impact these can have on employee wellbeing and productivity.

Most notably, our survey revealed that 53% of HR professionals always consider flexible working policies when assessing a potential new employer, 6% higher than the UK-wide average. We also discovered that the same percentage always consider training policies when assessing a new employer.

In particular, 62% of HR professionals want the opportunity to be formally mentored, and yet only 28% receive this. Mentoring plays well to two of the natural skill sets of good HR professionals: effective communication and active listening. Whilst looking to ensure others in your organisation are mentored, don’t forget to offer the same opportunities to your own HR employees and teams, and encourage them to take advantage of such opportunities themselves.

2. Aspiring to greater recognition and respect

83% of HR professionals stated they were ambitious, higher than the UK average of 78%. In addition, our survey also showed that aside from better pay and benefits, 43% of HR professionals stated they most desire more recognition and respect from a promotion.

In response to this, HR managers should ensure they continue to secure buy-in from key stakeholders within their organisations regarding the advantages of a strong, strategic HR department. This will increase recognition of the function as a whole, and ensure HR teams feel valued and understand their contribution to wider business objectives.

HR departments have all the knowledge and tools needed to ensure that they are able to attract and retain the best talent. Pinpointing exactly what workers in the HR team want will help them ensure that they have the top talent needed to increase their strategic focus, and continuously drive meaningful change.

Find out more about how to enhance your attraction and retention strategies for HR professionals in our What Workers Want Report, or sign up for our comprehensive What IT Workers Want webinar.

For more information or to discuss your employment needs in this field, please contact your local consultant.


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