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18 Jan 2016

Nearly 50% of staff haven´t spoken to HR in the past year

A new study conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and YouGov, reported on the CIPD blog, reveals that HR departments are almost invisible to other employees in the companies they work for.

According to this biggest ever CIPD survey of UK employees, nearly half (48%) of the UK workforce had no direct communication with their HR team over the past 12 months. What´s more, a quarter did not even know who was responsible for HR at their company.

Despite being integral to the health and wellbeing of staff, there seems a to be a “disconnect” between HR and the people it is there to help. However, as professor of management at the University of Sussex Katie Bailey explains, this could simply be because “in an average organisation on an average day, most people don´t interact with central departments.”

The researchers also suggest that this could be due to line managers becoming more proficient at ‘softer´ management skills, meaning there is less need to get HR involved; although this theory is slightly stunted by the fact that participants reported a lack of communication with their line managers.

Laura Harrison, the CIPD´s strategy director, warns that empowering managers should be about more than just giving them a piece of new software or technology: “By doing that, you´ve removed the levers HR should be pulling in the organisation in favour of achieving short-term efficiencies,” she argued.

There also seems to be a lack of clarity about what HR departments actually do. Respondents to the YouGov survey cited wellbeing, procedural and administrative matters; but a People Management online poll found that recruitment was thought to be HR´s main responsibility, followed by performance management and disciplinary measures.

Management expert Josh Bersin advised that HR needs to keep up with rapidly-changing technology, shifting its focus towards empowering employees to learn, develop and manage their professional goals. Meanwhile, leading thinker Dave Ulrich emphasised the importance of relationships for modern HR, urging HR departments to unite their disparate parts and improve their communication with the rest of the organisation.

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