Employee engagement tops HR professionals’ list of concerns for 2019

An annual study commissioned by Leeds-based Cascade HR reveals that employee engagement will be the biggest challenge facing HR professional in 2019.

The topic tops the list for the second year running, with 40% of the 423 respondents believing it will be their biggest challenge over the next 12 months. Recruitment and retention were a close second and third (37% and 36% respectively), followed by absence management (29%) and wellbeing (22%).

Cascade’s CEO Oliver Shaw said: “It’s been an interesting year for UK businesses, with Brexit, compliance and employment tribunals dominating the headlines.

“But I believe some of the most pivotal developments have surrounded the future of work debate. This year, the HR landscape has seen employees push back on the traditional 9-5 more than ever before. Flexible working has really stepped up a notch, and organisations that bury their head in the sand when it comes to what colleagues want from employment, will be those that struggle the most with recruitment and retention in 2019.”

Oliver was particularly interested to read HR professionals’ thoughts about automation. Almost half (46%) of respondents believe that automation is imperative for their HR department to become more effective and efficient next year, and 29% said it will have a partial role to play. Only 2% said they don’t believe automation is necessary within their business.

“Human Resources has embraced automation and machine learning on varying levels this year, but there is a clear desire to know more about the power of tech,” he said.

How every HR team can use artificial intelligence was one of our most popular webinars from 2018, with our head of Sales Marc Greggain subsequently asked to present a session dedicated to the topic, at the CIPD’s Annual Conference & Exhibition in early November.

“It is important that HR professionals can cut through the AI hype and understand how to benefit from things like automation, predictive analytics and workforce planning, without losing the ‘human’ from ‘Human Resources’. Their existing HR software will invariably hold the answer.”