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A Snapshot of HR Today

  • Human Resources
  • Article
  • 6 min. Read
  • Last Updated: 06/20/2017

Pulse of HR Survey from Paychex
A recent Paychex survey examined today's HR landscape, and revealed that this demanding, dynamic profession is essential to a company's success. Keep reading to learn more findings about HR today.

Table of Contents

You work hard handling employee issues, overseeing benefits administration, managing payroll, and conferring with other company leaders. You’re in the trenches, focused on the challenge du jour.

But pause for just a minute. Let’s step back and take a big-picture look at your human resources profession today. What does a current snapshot show?

The inaugural Paychex State of HR Survey, conducted online May 10-17, 2017, captured a broad, yet detailed picture of HR, its challenges, and its opportunities. We polled 309 HR decision-makers in U.S. companies with 50-500 employees across industries, and amidst the collection of data, four issues stood out: stress among HR professionals, employee engagement, workplace benefits, and department size.

Stress prevalent, but acceptable

Survey results show that you’re often stressed, but generally within acceptable limits. Seventy-eight percent of HR leaders acknowledged on-the-job pressure, but 90 percent said they enjoy a good work/life balance. That seems to speak well of a demanding position.

Employee engagement

Employees’ commitment to their jobs and employer is paramount in the minds of HR professionals. The more engaged the workforce is in the company and its mission, the more productive the business, and the higher the morale.

Fifty-three percent of survey respondents said that fewer than half of their employees feel engaged in their jobs. Engagement can be defined here as people being fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work, and taking positive action to further the company’s reputation and interests.

We found that respondents do plenty to foster employee engagement, including:

  • Providing training to develop new skills (60 percent);
  • Empowering employees to suggest new work methods or projects (56 percent);
  • Regularly asking staff for feedback on job satisfaction (53 percent);
  • Having company leaders regularly communicate goals and progress to the entire workforce (50 percent); and
  • Offering employees nontraditional benefits to promote satisfaction (30 percent).

Clearly, you’re listening to staff members and establishing creative ways to meet their needs, but there is still opportunity to grow.

Workplace benefits

Survey results demonstrated that flexible scheduling is the most popular non-traditional employee benefit at 43 percent. The next most-popular benefit — free meals on a regular basis — came in at 23 percent.

A flex-time option can dramatically reduce absenteeism rates, and boost recruitment and retention. Although as many as 85 percent of U.S. companies now offer some sort of flexible work arrangement, flex time isn’t necessarily the answer for every business. But if your organization doesn’t offer it, you may want to look at whether a change may benefit both your company and your employees.

Department size

The HR department comprising one individual might be a thing of the past, except in very small companies. Our survey data indicated that most organizations (36 percent) have three to five full-time employees dedicated to HR. And staff in this area is growing:

  • More than a quarter of organizations polled said they will add HR personnel this year. Of those doing so, 59 percent said they will add three or more new positions.
  • Nearly 75 percent of respondents expect an HR budget increase in the next year.

Industries of every type increasingly recognize the importance of HR to company performance, compliance, and the bottom line. Our survey’s look at the HR landscape today shows a demanding, dynamic profession essential to a company’s success.


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* This content is for educational purposes only, is not intended to provide specific legal advice, and should not be used as a substitute for the legal advice of a qualified attorney or other professional. The information may not reflect the most current legal developments, may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct, or up-to-date.

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