Study: HR Professionals Focus on Strategy, Productivity, and Technology Amid New Challenges
ROCHESTER, N.Y., Aug. 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The 2020 Paychex Pulse of HR Survey, released today, found that 88 percent of HR leaders feel they are a strategic partner within their organization, particularly as they play a vital role in navigating new regulatory challenges compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. The fourth annual report from Paychex, Inc., a leading provider of HR, payroll, benefits, and insurance solutions, also shows that 80 percent of HR professionals believe workplace technology helps support their role as a strategic contributor to the business and another 79 percent say technology enables their workforce to be more efficient and productive.
"Accelerated by new technology and a rapidly changing regulatory landscape, the job descriptions of HR professionals are evolving to encompass high-level decision-making and managing complex tasks that contribute to overall business strategy and success," said Alison Stevens, Paychex director of HR services. "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."
When asked to define their role within their organizations, most HR leaders describe themselves as a "strategic partner," which rose from the fourth-most common self-described role in 2019 to first in 2020.
Adoption of workplace technology pays off for HR departments
"A big HR contribution this year was using more technology and fewer human resources," said one respondent, a Colorado-based HR professional at a 100-person construction company. In fact, seventy-nine percent of HR leaders say that providing self-service options to employees via an HR application or portal is an important factor in meeting the needs of their workforce and freeing up time that would otherwise be spent on administrative tasks such as time-off requests and updates to personal information.
However, despite the widespread adopton of technology, some HR tasks are still handled manually. In fact, HR leaders report spending a full four weeks per year or more on manual tasks, including:
Leveraging the power of analytics from an HR technology solution has become even more prevalent in 2020. According to the survey, 97 percent of HR professionals rely on analytics, up from 90 percent in 2017, the first year that Paychex fielded the Pulse of HR Survey. Of those using analytics, 88 percent agree data helps them make more informed business decisions and 84 percent say they're benchmarking their data against other like organizations.
Regulatory challenges compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic
"HR professionals have been invaluable leaders in their organizations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Amidst widespread confusion and fear at a personal and professional level, they have called on skills that they may never have expected to utilize in a situation that has no playbook," said Stevens. "Through strategic leadership, consistent employee communication, regulatory compliance, benefits administration and more, HR leaders have and will continue to play a critical role in helping their organizations address evolving business needs due to the pandemic."
In addition to the impacts of technology and regulatory challenges of HR teams, the Paychex Pulse of HR Survey also revealed insights on HR's role in meeting the needs of remote workers, fostering employee engagement, and addressing social issues in the workplace, such as sexual harassment and pay equity. The complete research report is available on Paychex WORX.
About the 2020 Paychex Pulse of HR Survey
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SOURCE Paychex, Inc.
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