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Strategic HR

Myth or reality?

According to recent research by consultants Mercer most HR leaders spend a relatively small proportion of their time on ‘strategic’ work. Mercer surveyed around 500 HR directors across the EMEA region, and 65 per cent of respondents considered themselves strategic partners to their organisations. But most state that on average only 15% of their time was spent on strategic activity.

Unsurprisingly, just under a third of their time was spent on the delivery of HR services. However, compliance and record-keeping activities also represented a third of their workload. A quarter of respondents said they hoped to increase the volume of their strategic input during 2011.

Mercer said that the findings showed a difference between perceptions and reality when it comes to the strategic capabilities of HR departments.

"We have seen many changes in the HR profession over the past five years and one of the most significant is the move towards a more strategic role", comments Julie Waddicor, MD of Hays Human Resources. "I believe that HR plays an essential role in organisational success, as people are the most important part of any business. But it obviously hard for some senior HR practitioners to balance day to day activity with a more long-term strategic thinking."

The research suggested that many HR departments were priotising change in 2011, including redesigning HR processes (42 per cent), designing new strategies for delivering HR services (39 per cent) and implementing talent development strategies for improving skills in HR (39 per cent).

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