Two-fifths predict employee engagement will be greatest challenge in 2019


Two-fifths (40%) of employer respondents believe that engagement will be one of the most challenging agenda items in 2019, according to research by human resources software organisation Cascade HR.

The 2019 landscape: what’s in store? polled 423 UK-based HR professionals, and also found that 36% of respondents are concerned about staff retention for 2019, while 29% feel that absence management will be a key challenge.

Around a fifth (22%) of respondents cite wellbeing as one of their main concerns for 2019, compared to 21% who are most concerned about succession planning, and 16% who feel learning and development could be problematic this year.

Oliver Shaw (pictured), chief executive officer at Cascade HR, said: “Our survey results suggest that HR is receiving wider recognition for the strategic contribution it makes to businesses. In 2015, 76% of research participants expressed boardroom frustrations, but a more positive picture has emerged from the 2018 poll.”

When reflecting on 2018, 36% of respondents say that absence management was one of their greatest challenges; other key focus areas last year included talent retention (35%), employee engagement (34%) and wellbeing (15%).

For the new year, 41% believe their HR budget will remain the same, compared to 17% who think their budget amount will increase and 13% who feel they will receive less than in 2018. Just over two-fifths (44%) do not think their organisation is doing enough to help employees reach their full potential.

Furthermore, 26% of respondents think that HR is finding employment legislation harder to navigate, while 11% disagree, believing that employment legislation is, in fact, now easier to comprehend.

Shaw added: “[A third (34%)] believe HR has a strong, respected and maintained profile in the boardroom, with a further 34% claiming recognition has grown more positively as the last 12 months have unfolded. The timing of this strategic impact couldn’t be more crucial.

“We operate in a changing world of work; by 2025, I think employment contracts and flexible working practices will be unrecognisable, for example. So, it’s a little disconcerting to see that only 34% of people think their business is doing enough to help employees reach their full potential.

“Recruitment and retention will be tricky for organisations that don’t think carefully about their true employment proposition in 2019.”