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HR professionals don't get enough training and support, survey finds

Employers should use data to track HR professionals' skills and training needs, a learning officer suggeted -

Employers have not offered HR professionals enough training and support to tackle increased demands to their role, a survey by recruitment company Michael Page found.

The survey found that 54% of managers took on additional responsibilities outside of their original job description, compared with 35% at assistant level and 28% of people in leadership positions.

Looking at HR professionals specifically, 71% indicated that they had not received additional training or support from employers to tackle increased demands, and 15% of HR professionals reported that they had been given more responsibilities than their predecessors.

Natasha Wallace, international people partner at ClickUp, agreed that the demands on the HR profession have grown.

Speaking to HR magazine, she explained: “The demands on HR professionals have evolved significantly since the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“Agility to pivot alongside a business has become crucial. HR professionals must be adept at managing change, especially in integrating new technologies and fostering a culture that supports asynchronous work, which is increasingly important in global businesses.”

The study also found that 15% of HR professionals agreed that there is a lot more scope for HR professionals to get things wrong because of extra pressures of the job. More than a fifth (26%) of HR professionals agreed that more sensitivity is required for the job, listing emotional intelligence as an essential attribute for HR leaders.

Read more: Half of HR professionals on verge of quitting due to burnout

A further 23% indicated that the switch to hybrid working has made managing a team more complex. Just over a fifth of the HR professionals surveyed (23%) agreed that understanding and having the correct approach to neurodiversity has become more prevalent.

Due to the changing involvement of the HR function in an organisation, employers should ensure that HR professionals are involved in decision-making, advised René Janssen, co-founder at learning and development provider, Lepaya.

Speaking to HR magazine, he said: “To support HR professionals with these demands, employers should ensure that HR always has a seat at the table and is fairly represented within strategic decision-making, as well as ensuring that HR teams have access to data and the valuable insights they need for decision-making.”

David James, chief learning officer at 360Learning, told HR magazine that employers could also use data to track HR professionals' needs.

Read more: Employees need new or better skills, say HR professionals

He said: "Employers need to ensure that they are keeping an eye on the changing requirements for roles, and what skills their employees need.

"The best way to do this is to track it through data, such as a skills matrix that regularly updates when new team members join or team members complete training that arms them with those skills. If you’re not tracking the problem and taking steps to solve it, then it won’t go away."

Wallace added that training can help HR professionals feel supported through changing demands.

She continued: “In response to these changing demands, some HR professionals, like myself, have benefitted from learning and development stipends. 

“This flexible approach is particularly effective because it mirrors the changing demands of the business, enabling us to pursue training that enhances our skills and knowledge base where it’s most needed.

“However, HR professionals often miss out on broader training programs offered to the rest of the business. This makes regular access to performance reviews and coaching sessions even more important, while businesses can go further by providing training opportunities more in line with those offered to other departments.”

The Michael Page team surveyed 2,000 workers UK workers between 30 January and 7 February 2024.