Revealed: HR’s greatest barriers

A recent survey has unveiled what HR professionals see as their sector’s biggest obstacles

Revealed: HR’s greatest barriers
In a recent survey, HRD asked HR professionals hailing from a number of countries about their views on the industry and its future.

The top three challenges of large companies in achieving excellent HR results were: lack of support from management, lack of resources and time, and limitations in the capabilities and quality of HR teams.

When asked what the greatest barrier to achieving excellent HR results might be, respondents were generally consistent across varying company sizes – the top result for all four size categories was “lack of buy-in or support from management/leadership”.

The findings showed that overall, the biggest barriers were:

1. Lack of support or buy-in from management/leadership, or leaders not understanding the value of HR – 31%
“‘I don’t have time for this’ is the familiar catch-cry until something goes wrong,” said one respondent.

2. Lack of funds, resources and time – 22%
“HR is seen and expected to be reactive and not proactive,” one participant commented. “There are no development plans in place/budget allocated for the HR team.”

“The business is focused on sales results, leaders are not capable of managing underperformance and this has created a culture of acceptance.”

3. People’s poor perception and lack of understanding of HR/support of all stakeholders – 12%
“Considering we work in such a large organisation, it is tough getting managers and staff to comply and take part in HR related aspects such as performance reviews and development,” one person said.

4. Capabilities, knowledge and quality of the HR team – 8% 
“We’re hampered by an incompetent HR team, HR’s lack of business awareness, not understanding the business dynamics, and being too operation-oriented and glued to office work rather than working with ground level people,” was one response.

5. Limitations in the capabilities of managers and leaders – 5%
“The model I work in is one in which I support line managers to manage their staff,” one participant told HRD.

“There are mixed abilities in doing this, so the barrier is getting them to do more than ‘talk the talk’. Emotional intelligence and capacity to get the best out of people and harness maximum engagement and productivity is poor in some areas.”

6. Reluctance to change, being stuck to traditional ways and thinking – 4%
One respondent complained about “old ideas about what HR is.”
“That is, the compliance HR model rather than the advisory one.”
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