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Less than half of HR professionals would recommend their company to others, survey finds

Only two in five (42%) people working in HR said they would recommend their employer to others, according to new research by HR software provider Ciphr.

The survey of 300 HR decision makers revealed a raft of less-than-positive findings about how they view their role at many UK organisations, with over one in three (37% of respondents) claiming to be overworked most or all the time. Around a quarter (28%) also regularly consider leaving their current positions.

Notably, less than half (48%) say they receive regular or ongoing training and development for their role. Merely a third (34%) are satisfied with their salary, and just one in four (27%) think there are career progression opportunities available to them at their organisation.

And yet, despite the dissatisfaction with certain aspects of their role, the survey also found that most HR professionals do appear to enjoy the important work they do.

When asked how often they found their job fulfilling and engaging during a typical working week, nearly two-thirds (64%) said most or all the time. Another quarter (28%) said their job was fulfilling and engaging some of the time. The remaining one in 11 (9%), however, reported rarely or never being fulfilled or engaged.

Well over half of respondents also said that most (or all) of the time they felt valued and appreciated for their work (56%) and that their skills and experience were being fully utilised (61%).

While the survey didn’t delve into the reasons why people would or wouldn’t recommend their employer, Ciphr’s data shows that their opinions on this are clearly influenced by how valued, fulfilled, trained and well-paid they feel. Work/life balance and workload are also factors.

Among those who said they would recommend their employers to others, 79% felt fulfilled and engaged by their work and 71% felt valued and appreciated for their work all or most of the time.

In stark contrast, only 53% of HR professionals who didn’t say they would recommend their employer to others* reported finding their job fulfilling and engaging all or most of the time. And just 45% of this group felt appreciated for their work all or most of the time. These workers were also less likely to say that they receive regular training for their roles (40% compared to 60%), have a good work/life balance (34% compared to 58%) or be satisfied with their salary (28% compared to 42%).

Other survey findings show that HR professionals who aren’t overworked, and those who are satisfied with their pay, are among the least likely to be planning a job switch. The people who look most likely to leave their current HR job (if they haven’t already) are those who rarely or never feel valued and appreciated for their work.

Share of HR professionals who agree with the following statements about their role and organisation:

  • I receive regular and ongoing training and development for my role: 48% of respondents
  • I have a good work/life balance: 44%
  • I would recommend my employer to others: 42%
  • The HR team has a good working relationship with the wider business: 39%
  • My organisation fully supports its employees’ mental health and wellbeing: 37%
  • The HR team is well-respected and valued at my organisation: 34%
  • I am satisfied with my salary: 34%
  • The HR team is recognised for its vital role in delivering business success: 32%
  • I have career progression opportunities at my organisation: 27%

HR’s unique viewpoint

A separate survey by Ciphr, conducted last year, reported that 60% of 1,000 employed UK adults would recommend their employer to their friends or family (while 20% of those polled wouldn’t).

Given that only 42% of HR professionals in this recent survey would recommend their employer to others, it could be inferred that people working in HR are generally more unhappy with their organisations than other employees. Or is it, perhaps, that HR’s perspective is simply different?

HR works closely with the C-suite and management to better support their organisation’s people. This gives them a ‘unique’ insight into how their employer is prioritising – or not prioritising – their employees.

Claire Williams, chief people and operations officer at Ciphr, explains:

“HR may be less inclined to recommend their organisation than other employees for various reasons. They have a unique viewpoint of the organisation, including what steps are being taken to make it an enjoyable place to work and the level of genuine buy-in and commitment from the C-suite. And, if that’s not reflective of the wider messaging, it could drive HR professionals to want to look for an employer that is more people-centric and action-orientated.

“There are a lot of great employers out there. So while HR professionals typically want to work with a company to make things better – to ‘enact change’ – if, realistically, they don’t have the backing of the employer to do so, who can blame them for considering going to work for another company that will respect and value their vital role?

“It is surprising and disappointing, though, to see how few HR professionals say they have good working relationships in the business, and don’t feel valued and recognised for their work. In many instances this will be outside of their control, but there are steps that HR can take to try to raise the profile and positive perception of the HR function within their organisation.

“Some of the ways you can do this include ensuring that objectives are aligned to companywide strategic goals; integrating the HR team more with different departments and management teams by joining meetings and anchor days; sending out regular updates to the business on HR activities and successes, explaining how HR initiatives are positively impacting the business; and optimising management information (MI) and reporting to enable more strategic use of your people data.”

Williams continues:

“These survey findings also highlight that HR isn’t exempt from the widespread issue of burnout, with over a third of HR professionals feeling overworked. In fact, it underscores the critical need for organisations to ensure a better work/life balance and implement support systems that provide further support and training for those in HR, who are frequently required to take on the emotional burden of the wider workforce. This can include supporting people through mental health issues, bereavement, and low morale – just a few of a huge range of personal issues that can really take a toll on HR teams.”

Ciphr commissioned Onepoll to conduct an independent survey of 300 HR decision makers in February 2024.

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