- Nearly 9 in 10 HR professionals surveyed by Paychex reported having a voice in company strategy, according to the Aug. 3 findings of the firm's 2020 Pulse of HR Survey. When ranking needs for third-party support, however, respondents placed HR strategy first.
- As for their top priorities, the 575 respondents named evaluating workplace productivity, driving results through company culture and implementing training and development programs.
- Respondents were somewhat divided in selecting their biggest challenges of the year. Thirty-six percent cited compliance, and 34% selected training and development. Tracking employees' time, attracting talent and administering benefits trailed behind at 31%, 30% and 29%, respectively. HR leaders found their greatest pandemic-specific challenges to be keeping employees motivated and engaged and keeping employees informed.
HR is taking on more strategic responsibility as the workplace decreases in formality, sources told HR Dive last year. In well-oiled organizations, HR bridges company practice and workforce preference, Leah Machado, chief financial and people officer at FIVE19, previously told HR Dive. This role gives the department strategic value.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has put this shifting role into sharper focus as HR leaders have quickly risen to the challenge, adapting to meet the needs of their workforce, navigating new and changing legislation, and working closely with executives to plan for the future," Alison Stevens, Paychex director of HR services, said of the findings in a press release.
Other firms have emphasized the opportunity the pandemic holds for HR professionals. The virus allows employers to "hit reset" on traditional workplace practices, The Adecco Group said in early July. Such a moment promotes "results-driven" work, for example, the staffing firm said.
As employers announce long-term plans for remote work and other flexible policies, HR may be able to seize the moment and secure its identity as a strategic player.