Human Resources Just Doesn’t Get It

The perception vs. reality in HR.

Posted by Heidi Schwartz

ADP® has revealed findings from several of its new Research Institute® studies on the interplay between human resources (HR) departments and the employees they serve. The studies found a persistent disconnect between HR and the workforce, irrespective of company size or location. The findings further revealed the disconnect extends to senior leadership, who also appear out of touch with employee attitudes and perceptions.

Among the areas where employees, HR, and senior leadership don’t see eye-to-eye are:

  • Employees rank the level of their compensation and benefits less favorably than HR or management does;
  • With the exception of the U.S. workforce, employees rate their work/life balance significantly lower than the perceptions of HR or senior management;
  • Career opportunities—a key driver for keeping employees—receive significantly lower ratings from employees than from HR; and
  • Senior leadership is also rated less positively by employees than by HR—sometimes as low as employees rate the HR function itself.

“What this study shows is, despite efforts to improve communications and facilitate better relationships between HR, senior leadership, and employees, a big gap remains,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and head of the ADP Research Institute. “Companies are operating without a fully engaged workforce, an issue that has to be addressed if they are going to manage their human capital effectively.”

On a global basis, with the exception of Latin America, employees outside the U.S. appear much less satisfied overall with the companies they work for.

  • 63% of employees in the U.S. and Latin America are “Extremely” or “Very” satisfied with their employer;
  • 61% in Canada;
  • 53% in Europe; and
  • 48% in Asia-Pac.

Perhaps more disturbing is the difference in the perception between HR and employees on how the company is managed. Employees tend to rate many management functions, particularly those dealing with workforce and talent management, much lower than HR does. This was true in all geographies and across nine different talent management areas surveyed, including opportunity for professional growth, training, and support from management. Employee perceptions tended to be lower as company size increased.

The relationship with HR also has a major impact on employee retention. In the U.S., two out of five employees indicated an intention to leave their companies within the next 12 months. According to the study, dissatisfaction with HR processes, policies, and functions are major drivers behind the intent to leave.

To obtain a free copy of this ADP Research Institute whitepaper, visit Human Capital Management’s Disconnect: A Global Snapshot.