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XpertHR reveals the top HR priorities for the year ahead

The XpertHR survey was conducted in Dec 2016 and Jan 2017 amongst 316 HR practitioners working in organisations employing almost 430,000 people

Learning and development has emerged as the number one priority for HR professionals across all sectors for the first time since XpertHR’s annual HR roles and responsibilities survey was launched 15 years ago.

The survey looked at the key priorities over the next 12 months for HR practitioners working in private-sector-service companies, manufacturing and production firms, and the public sector.

In addition to learning and development, other top priorities for private-sector-service companies are HR analytics and HR information systems, recruitment – including reviewing the process and improving onboarding – reward and benefits, and employee engagement.

Sheila Attwood, Pay and HR practice managing editor at XpertHR, comments, “One of the signs of increased business confidence among employers is the corresponding increase in movement within the labour market, resulting in retention issues and skills shortages.

“Companies need to retain their talent and we have noted a continued focus on staff retention, recruitment and employee engagement. Workforce and succession planning are also high on the agenda, as is HR analytics and technology – businesses want to improve the quality of information they gather about their people to gain meaningful statistics that can enhance strategic decision-making.”

Although succession and workforce planning, reward and benefits, recruitment and restructuring are all current priorities for HR professionals in the public sector, training and organisation development is the top issue.

Sheila Attwood comments, “With continued funding cuts, pay awards averaging around 1% for the public sector and a series of reforms to the terms and conditions of public-sector workers that have been going on since 2010 (including changes to pension schemes), it is not an easy time for HR practitioners and employers in this sector.

“Over the next year, they will have a challenging time keeping employees engaged and motivated, and training and development can be a motivator in the absence of big pay rises.”

After learning and development, HR practitioners within the manufacturing and production sector put their biggest priorities as HR analytics and HR information systems, recruitment, HR strategy, and reward and benefits.

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