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HR ready to jump ship amid C-suite disputes

Nearly two thirds (62%) of HR reported increased pressure to mediate disputes between employees and the C-suite

Over half (57%) of HR professionals are planning to look for a new job this year, a survey by financial adviser Octopus Money found. 

This compared with 46% of non-HR employees surveyed, who said they would look for a new job in 2024.

HR professionals who feel undervalued may be keen to find another position, suggested Max Specht, workplace trends expert at Personio.

He told HR magazine: “HR is a critical bridge between employees and business leaders, but they often find themselves sitting in the peripheral vision of C-suite executives. 

“This leads to them feeling underutilised and undervalued; a dangerous combination for businesses.”

Octopus Money found that, this year, 62% HR professionals have faced increased pressure to mediate a disconnect between employees and the C-suite. 

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

The research also suggested the C-suite were not focused on retention, as 42% cited their main priority as the cost of running the business.

Meanwhile 42% of the C-suite agreed their benefits were ineffective at retaining talent and 31% claimed this was because employees had not tried to understand them. However 80% of employees said they do understand benefits but failed to see the added value.

Specht added that these disputes were due to the C-suite not knowing how to utilise HR teams.

He continued: “Our own research [July 2023] found that half (50%) of the UK C-suite admitted to not knowing how to use HR teams effectively. That’s half of organisations not knowing how HR can build better people strategies, focus on retention and help run the business.”

Octopus Money found that 65% of C-suite thought HR were useful in innovating the employee value proposition, while 63% of employees said they did not think HR added anything to their experience.

Read more: Half of C-suite execs don’t know how to use HR effectively

Employers can retain HR by showing them more appreciation and offering them more freedom to roll out retention plans, suggested Ian Moore, managing director at Lodge Court.

Speaking to HR magazine, he said: "To keep HR professionals from quitting, employers should show more appreciation for their hard work and offer support through professional development and mental health resources.

"Better communication between HR and the C-suite is crucial for aligning goals and celebrating wins together. Also, giving HR the freedom and resources they need to roll out effective employee retention plans can make a big difference."

Moore continued that better communication is needed between the C-suite and HR to meet business goals.

He added: "Better communication and collaboration can lead to a positive and productive work environment that meets everyone’s needs.

"HR and the C-suite can improve their collaboration by setting shared goals and having regular strategy meetings to talk about workforce needs and retention strategies.

"It's important to collect feedback from employees to ensure HR initiatives are on point. Using data and analytics to back up decisions and show the impact of HR efforts can also help strengthen teamwork."

Octopus Money commissioned Censuswide to survey 1,000 employees and 500 HR professionals in April 2024.