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Study: HR Sharpens Focus on Engagement, Company Culture

June 18, 2018
2018 Pulse of HR Survey

According to the newly released Paychex Pulse of HR Survey, HR leaders across the country have a renewed focus on talent management in 2018. The second annual report from Paychex, Inc., a leading provider of integrated human capital management solutions for payroll, HR, retirement, and insurance services, both reaffirmed HR’s critical role in shaping company strategy and revealed a sharpened focus on talent management activities that have a meaningful impact on employee engagement and company culture.

Advances in technology and evolving employee needs present HR with new challenges every day, but there is good news: today’s HR leaders continue to have strategic influence with their organization’s C-suite. Between 2017 and 2018, the same number (80%) of HR leaders said they feel they are a strategic partner within their organization – and nearly half (44%) report meeting with their CEO, CFO, or both on a weekly basis in 2018.

The Paychex report also showed a commitment to talent management, as 85% of respondents said they’re focusing on company culture to drive results, and 77% feel their current HR technology solution is improving overall employee experience.

“Between the U.S. reaching full employment, significant shifts in societal trends and priorities, and a new generation entering the workforce, HR is uniquely positioned to manage talent in a way that drives higher engagement and better business results,” said Leah Machado, Paychex senior director of HR services. “For that reason, attracting, engaging, and retaining high-quality talent is more important today than perhaps ever before.”

Employee Engagement
Employees today want to be both empowered and engaged. In 2018, 65% of HR leaders reported that at least half of their workforce is engaged, up from 48% in 2017. Furthermore, of those surveyed, 62% of HR leaders are measuring employee engagement via pulse surveys throughout the year rather than on an annual basis.

“Staying in touch with the ever-changing needs of your workforce is mandatory in an increasingly competitive human capital landscape,” said Pamela Lacy, Paychex HR consultant. “Many employees today want to work for an employer who has developed a culture of inclusion and diversity, as well as one that offers ample opportunities for career advancement. Supplementing the human touch that is inherent to the HR function with tools and technologies that help to connect the employees to their work in a way they’ve become accustomed to in their personal lives can help HR professionals create an employee experience that rivals top competitors and ultimately improves overall employee engagement.”

Societal Shifts
Societal trends and priorities are driving changes to employee protection policies. In fact, 83% of HR leaders surveyed say they now have a discrimination and harassment policy in place, and 65% have updated those policies within the last 12 months. Additionally, 67% have re-evaluated their pay practices this year with an eye on gender equality.

“There is no doubt that the #MeToo movement has had an impact on the workplace by opening positive dialogues on pay practices, the work environment, and anti-retaliation policies,” said Edwina Maxwell, Paychex human resources coach. “Business leaders today are increasingly attentive to their HR policies and practices and are laser-focused on creating and maintaining workplaces that are free from even the perception of harassment, discrimination, or pay inequality.”

Multi-generational Workforce
In 2017, HR leaders were far less likely to be comfortable supporting the HR needs of Millennials when compared to Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. One year later, though, managing the multi-generational workforce seems to have evened out, as perceived support for all generations hovered at around 51%. In 2017, 64% of HR leaders felt managing the needs of Gen X was a significant challenge, followed by Baby Boomers (57%) and Millennials (48%).

“Millennial employees now make up the largest segment of the workforce, and our data indicates most organizations feel comfortable in their ability to meet the needs of a Millennial employee,” said Shauna Stute, HR generalist at Paychex. “Generation Z is now entering the job market with new ideas and fresh perspective, leading many HR leaders to shift their focus to learning about the needs and expectations of this new segment. What we do know is Gen Z is more globally connected than any generation that’s come before it. They generally want to know that their work makes a difference – and not only to their organization, but to society as a whole. Savvy employers who quickly learn to harness Gen Z’s passion and ideals have a tremendous opportunity to create loyal, long-term employees.”

The role HR plays in driving engagement and culture is powerful, but those are far from the only topics impacting the industry today. The Paychex Pulse of HR Survey also revealed insights on HR technology’s role in driving efficiency, along with the proliferation of non-traditional benefits as a means for attracting and retaining top talent. Click here to view the complete report.

For information about how Paychex can help HR leaders work smarter and expand their influence, visit or stop by the Paychex booth (#1443) at the 2018 Society of Human Resources (SHRM) Annual Conference & Exposition, June 17-20, in Chicago, Ill. In addition to the Paychex booth, follow along via Paychex WORX of all of the show’s happenings and @Paychex on Twitter.

About the Paychex Pulse of HR Survey
The 2018 Paychex Pulse of HR Survey was conducted online between April 13, 2018, and April 21, 2018, and polled 300 HR decision-makers at U.S. companies with between 50 and 500 employees. This marked the second installment of a three-year, annual commitment to studying the latest trends in HR and technology.

Descargo de responsabilidad: Los datos citados en este comunicado de prensa representan las opiniones de los encuestados, mas no las de Paychex ni las de sus empleados.

Acerca de Paychex
Paychex, Inc. (NASDAQ: PAYX) is a leading provider of integrated human capital management solutions for payroll, HR, retirement, and insurance services. By combining its innovative software-as-a-service technology and mobility platform with dedicated, personal service, Paychex empowers small- and medium-sized business owners to focus on the growth and management of their business. Backed by 45 years of industry expertise, Paychex serves approximately 605,000 payroll clients as of May 31, 2017, across more than 100 locations and pays one out of every 12 American private sector employees. Learn more about Paychex by visiting, and stay connected on Twitter and LinkedIn.