- HR staffing levels grew to an all-time high of 1.4 per 100 employees, according to a Bloomberg BNA study. The HR Department Benchmarks and Analysis 2017 report provides HR executives in various industries benchmarking data for strategic planning, including responses from 700 HR professionals.
- Bloomberg BNA expanded this year's report to include data on HR departments' budgetary spending and HR specialists' roles and responsibilities. Four in five HR departments studied said they had revised their policies based on legislative changes such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (62%) and the Department of Labor's (DOL's) overtime rule (48%).
- The study also found that 63% of HR departments have their own budgets. Respondents also benefit from economies of scale; organizations with fewer than 250 workers spend $2,966 per employee — six times that of organizations with 2,500 or more employees, which spend $594 per employee.
The once standard ratio of one HR staff member for 100 employees may be insufficient, and the increased ratio reported in 2017's BNA study is an improvement from earlier results.
BNA's research reflects the reality behind the number of legislative changes affecting employment. Much of the ACA's complex reporting requirements — viewed by many business groups as burdensome — are administered by HR personnel. A PwC study found that 83% of employers polled handled their ACA reporting responsibilities through the HR department.
HR has also been on the frontline of employers' legal battles with the overtime rule. The rule so confused and annoyed employers that they sought court injunctions to halt its enactment. Before the court battles, some HR departments restructured pay levels to comply with the rule. DOL has since stopped defending the rule and filed a Request for Information with the White House's Office of Management and Budget.