September 23, 2021
HR Acuity has announced the research findings from a recent survey, People Leaders and the Gap in Managing Employee Issues. The report, which includes data from 126 enterprise employee relations leaders and from nearly 700 people leaders from a wide range of industries and company sizes, provides insight into how people leaders handle employee issues such as policy violations, performance concerns and behavioral issues.
The report also highlights how these issues impact employee relations, employee experience, hybrid work and the broader organisation.
There is an overall lack of confidence and a wide gap in the perceptions of employee relations professionals and people leaders of how effectively employee issues are handled. Only 2 percent of ER professionals are very confident that their people leaders have the necessary skills to document employee matters in an effective and compliant manner. In comparison, half (52 percent) of people leaders are very confident they know how to address employee concerns appropriately.
Even when provided with educational resources, people leaders still rely on manual and risky tactics for documenting and tracking employee issues. Eighty-five percent (85 percent) of employee relations leaders provide people leaders with multiple resources including training, toolkits, self-service portals and pre-defined templates to guide them in managing employee issues. Yet, 93 percent of people leaders use methods such as word processing documents, spreadsheets and email.
Use of apps and technology-based tools to track employee issues leads to increased confidence in people leaders by employee relations professionals, but few organisations are leveraging this technology. Only 7 percent of people leaders use tech-based tools or apps to manage employee issues. But when people leaders use tech-based tools to address employee issues, confidence of employee relations professionals in the abilities of people leaders increases by more than 20 points.
“Organisations must empower people leaders to handle employee issues effectively”
Things are getting harder, not easier. People leaders find handling employee issues in a remote work environment more challenging than they were in-person. Sixty-five percent (65 percent) of people leaders said they find it more challenging to manage employee issues when working remotely and 51 percent are not confident that HR/employee relations professionals will help them manage employee issues. People leaders cited lack of face-to face interaction, technical difficulties related to calls and document access, and the inability to monitor employee behavior among the greatest challenges.
“This survey confirms the importance of enabling people leaders to manage employee issues in a timely, consistent and thorough manner to build trust with employees and reduce organisational risk. As the first point of contact for employees, people leaders need the necessary tools and training to easily manage, document and track employee issues with consistency – and to know when to involve employee relations,” said HR Acuity CEO and Founder Deb Muller.
“Employers understand the value of a great employee experience, but they continue to struggle with how to empower those closest to employees – people leaders. To create inclusive workplaces, eliminate bias and build trust with employees, organisations must empower people leaders to handle employee issues effectively. Embracing technology that upskills managers, ensures consistency and provides visibility across the enterprise is critical to achieve these goals.”