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Pictured: Ciara Fallon, director, PwC people and change management, and Gerard McDonough, PwC HR services director
Fifty-five percent of Ireland’s HR leaders say they are experiencing skills shortages in their organisations at the moment, with 27pc of these gaps being in IT, according to a new survey from PwC Ireland.
Just 31pc of respondents to the HR Director Pulse Survey said they have fully developed talent management programmes in place. The retention of key talent is a top priority for 40pc of the HR leaders, however over a third (34pc) said that the ability to manage talent is the top skills gap within the HR function.
Eighty-one percent of respondents said they plan to increase or hold employee levels. Just over a third (34pc) indicated that they are planning to increase employees into Ireland from within their organisations abroad.
While 52pc are favourable about the prospects for their own businesses in the next year, just 27pc are favourable about the prospects of Ireland’s economy.
“The survey suggests that there is room for improvement in Irish businesses where talent management is concerned,” said Ciara Fallon, director, people and change management, PwC. “An effective talent management programme, that is properly managed, can have a huge impact on redirecting key talent in the areas needed most. Organisations have to rethink their talent pipeline and transform their HR function to deal with new priorities and risks.”
Nearly two-thirds (64pc) said that they use executive search professionals to source key talent. The top criterion for selecting such professionals is sector expertise/knowledge. At the same time the survey indicates that some 60pc of all recruitment activity in Irish businesses is sourced through in-house recruiters.
Only half (51pc) of the HR leaders confirmed that they measure employee engagement. This is despite the fact that the top HR priority identified for the next 18 months is managing employee engagement (53pc). The most common approaches used to measure employee engagement, according to the survey, are informal feedback (66pc); annual people surveys (59) and performance ratings (44pc).
“Organisations that move beyond simply measuring employee satisfaction and focus on using engagement intelligence can enhance their overall business success as they establish linkages to organisational performance measures,” said Fallon.
Over half (53pc) of the HR leaders said they will change how performance management and reward are aligned. Nearly a third (31pc) said they will change the type of health plans employees can choose and 19pc will reduce overtime payouts. Over half (58pc) reported that their reward strategy is set globally.
Over three-quarters (78pc) of Ireland’s HR leaders said they have a place at the ‘top table’ and contribute to corporate decision making.
The top internal skills gaps within the HR function, according to the survey, are talent management (34pc); consulting skills (31pc) and HR analytics (29pc).
The most common metrics operated by HR functions, according to the survey, are absenteeism rates (83pc); compensation and benefits/reward (78pc) and staff turnover (76pc). The survey indicates that less focus is placed on ‘commercial’ metrics such as return on people investment (2pc); productivity (31pc) and absenteeism costs (37pc).
The survey was carried out in December 2012 with over 80 respondents from Irish businesses across all industry sectors. Companies surveyed included multinationals (42pc); private companies (32pc); public companies (18pc) and semi-state bodies (8pc).