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2019 HR Industry Pulse Report: Barriers to Success

Recruiting and retaining great talent can feel like a battle. That’s probably why many HR professionals and experts call this struggle the talent war — the stakes are high for both employees and businesses. On the front lines, HR leaders are contending with everything from improving culture to increasing employee engagement. We wanted to understand more about the group of HR professionals on the front lines — from their motivations to their goals and priorities — so we asked.

Limeade surveyed over 200 HR professionals across organizations, industries and countries to compile data for our 2019 HR Industry Pulse Report. The results? We found that HR leaders need support and buy-in, we also confirmed their awareness of the issues facing their teams and companies, and just how eager they are to be part of the solutions. 

Our respondents also identified recruiting, engagement and retention as their top HR challenges. For both recruiting and retention, they elevated culture as a top barrier. Candidates are looking for great company cultures, and employees will leave when culture is not up to par.

Here are some highlights from the 2019 HR Industry Pulse Report:

Employee engagement is a top priority.

The obstacles around employee engagement revealed a deeper issue facing HR leaders. They know how important it is, but more often than not it’s still only on their to-do list. HR leaders agree that “not feeling valued” is the No. 1 reason for disengagement. These respondents know that to feel engaged in your work, you need to feel valued by your employer. That’s likely why 47% identified “improving employee engagement” as a top priority over the next six months.

Employee experience is tough to define, but HR leaders know it’s a feeling.

At Limeade, we believe employee experience is how it feels to work somewhere. Although the results of the HR Industry Pulse Report didn’t show a resounding agreement, we did notice a theme. HR leaders define employee experience in many different ways, but they know it’s an important feeling. The No. 1 keyword used in their responses was “feel.” More than anything else, HR leaders seem to agree that employee experience is something you feel, it’s the intangibles and tangibles that add up to a great job.

Inclusion is low on the list of priorities.

HR leaders know diversity and inclusion is important, but they’re struggling to focus on it. In fact, the HR Industry Pulse Report found that 86% of HR leaders are responsible for their D&I initiatives, but on average, they ranked inclusion 8 out of 10 on their priority list. Unfortunately, they’re missing a huge opportunity here. Inclusion could be the solution HR leaders are looking for — after all, those who feel included at work are more engaged, intend to stay longer and are more likely to recommend their organizations. But the survey results show that it’s not yet agreed upon as an approach to addressing the top issues of recruiting, retention and employee engagement.

It’s clear that HR leaders and professionals need more support, whether it’s larger budgets or organizational buy-in, but with the HR Industry Pulse Report we uncovered some meaningful silver linings. We confirmed that HR leaders are aspirational and change oriented — improving the employee experience matters more to them than a promotion. We also found that in some ways, they do feel very supported. In fact, 93% of respondents said they felt somewhat or very supported by their executive leadership.

More work is needed to understand and alleviate the issues facing HR leaders, but our 2019 HR Pulse Report opened up the dialogue. Get your copy and dig into the data further.