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Talent management and retention tops HRD priority list, says research

Talent management, succession planning and employee engagement are the leading priorities for HR directors in the next 12 months, a new study by technology company ADP has found.

The Workforce View 2013, which canvassed the views of 2,577 employees and 205 HR directors, found 31% of HR directors viewed talent management and retention as their top concern.

This was followed by succession planning (25%), employee engagement (23%) and staff training/skills development (20%).

The focus on talent management and retention was backed up by the views of employees surveyed – 17% said they are looking for a new role in the next year and 43% aimed to move on in five years.

The biggest talent management issue, selected by 46% of HRDs, is a lack of fresh talent, and more than a third said organisational cuts and a lack of recruitment activity had led to concerning ‘talent gaps’.

A third of HRDs said reductions in training and employee investment were making it more difficult to motivate and hold onto staff.

To address employee engagement, HRDs said they would look at praise and recognition strategies (59%), flexible working (46%), fair and transparent leadership (45%) and employee benefits (45%).

Other concerns on the HRD radar included addressing perceptions staff are working harder for the same or less reward, and concerns over job security.

Job insecurity

The major employee concern was job security – 59% anticipated changes to their role and 21% said their role would be at risk in the next 12 months.

In spite of this, nearly two-thirds of employees were positive about future prospects and 24% said returning growth could lead to improved career opportunities.

Employees said they want the ability to work more flexibly, and 24% said they currently have some degree of flexibility over working hours.

The vast majority of workers (85%) recognised the importance of skills in improving performance, and 73% said they took personal responsibility for acquiring new skills rather than relying on their managers.

Top 10 priorities for the year ahead

Talent management and retention, 31% of HRDs
Succession planning, 25%
Increasing employee engagement, 23%
Ensuring sufficient training/skills development, 20%
Managing & reducing workplace stress, 20%
Enabling & managing remote/flexible working, 18%
Implementing the right technology, 18%
Managing ageing/multi-generational workforce, 11%
Improving employee benefits, 9%
Enabling & managing global working, 8%