The biggest challenge facing HR managers in 2019 will be employee engagement

An annual study commissioned by Cascade HR has revealed the topics most likely to keep Human Resources professionals awake at night in 2019. The 2019 HR Landscape Report report claims that employee engagement has topped the list for the second year running, with 40 percent of the 423 respondents believing it will be their biggest challenge over the next 12 months. Recruitment and retention were a close second and third (37 percent and 36 percent respectively), followed by absence management (29 percent) and wellbeing (22 percent). It appears similar themes have posed the biggest headaches as 2018 has unfolded too. When asked to reflect on their toughest encounters from the last year, HR directors, managers and executives ranked recruitment as the clear front runner (45 percent), followed by absence management (36 percent), with retention and GDPR compliance in joint third place (35 percent).

The research claims that whilst retention may have been difficult, 35 percent of HR teams believe they’ve excelled in that area, with successes also experienced in wellbeing (32 percent), L&D (32 percent) and diversity (30 percent). Thinking about GDPR specifically, 66 percent of respondents admitted the legislative overhaul has been problematic, yet manageable.

It is perhaps unsurprising that Brexit featured throughout, although it was not the most common topic. 52 percent of HR professionals admitted that they are a little worried about the ambiguity and impact of leaving the EU, but only 19 percent went as far as to say they are extremely concerned. When considering employment legislation, 63 percent said they couldn’t comment whether it feels easier or harder to navigate.

When asked for his commentary on the findings, Cascade’s CEO Oliver Shaw said: “It’s been an interesting year for UK businesses, with Brexit, compliance and employment tribunals dominating the headlines.  “But I believe some of the most pivotal developments have surrounded the future of work debate. This year, the HR landscape has seen employees push back on the traditional 9-5 more than ever before. Flexible working has really stepped up a notch, and organisations that bury their head in the sand when it comes to what colleagues want from employment, will be those that struggle the most with recruitment and retention in 2019.”