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7th European HR BarometerPeople First Despite Tough Economic Climate and Pressure on Cost Reduction                       ...
succession planning, measurement and rewarding of             The top three measures indicated by at least half ofemployee...
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Aon Hewitt 7th European HR Barometer

The 7th European HR Barometer survey was carried
out by Aon Hewitt in cooperation with the European
Club for HR between December 2011 and January
2012. In this edition, fifty-two organisations completed
the survey. They operate in a wide range of sectors,
generating together 517 billion euro of revenues
and with a combined total of 2.4 million employees.
62 percent of participating organisations are listed
companies. Survey respondents encompass 13 different
nationalities. 71 percent are executives and directors
with exclusive responsibility for HR at European or
global level.
For more information, visit:
www.aonhewitt.com
www.europeanclub-hr.e

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Aon Hewitt 7th European HR Barometer

  1. 1. 7th European HR BarometerPeople First Despite Tough Economic Climate and Pressure on Cost Reduction The impact of measures taken in 2011 to face the Key results economic volatility has already been assessed by a vast majority of respondents (88 percent) and, for two ▪ Deterioration of macro-economic climate reduces but ▪ third of respondents, results seem to largely match doesn’t reverse corporate growth and new employment target objectives. prospects. ▪ HR leaders ready to play an active role to tackle ▪ Most influential policy drivers for HR unemployment of young people. ▪▪ Navigating through the crisis an opportunity for raising HR profile, but too often communication with This year, “cost sensitivity” regains its place as the employees is still poor. most influential factor when designing HR policies. ▪ Up skilling and (non-financial) employee reward are top ▪ The difficulty of having a suitably qualified labour 2012 actions despite pressure on cost reduction. force or in finding the right talent in the right ▪▪ Leadership development, employee engagement and place, followed by challenging productivity and retention confirmed top HR medium-term priorities. profit targets make up the top tier of the list. More ▪▪ HR expected to develop new business competencies astonishing is the very limited consideration given to and reshape its mission. emerging social and political factors such as: ▪▪ HR policy execution continues to lag beyond ▪▪ perceived inequalities, expectations. ▪▪ HR capacity to anticipate needs and influence the ▪▪ increase of retirement age, business agenda still limited. ▪▪ higher ethical standards or social networks. ▪▪ Steady level of cooperation with CEO but trust shrinking. These factors are likely to have a much greater impact ▪▪ Perception of EU activities further declining while on management policies than indicated by HR leaders negative sentiment increases. in the survey. ▪▪ Direct call to policy makers for: - recasting and simplifying EU labour law, - reinforcing financial support in favour of education, Short and medium-term HR policy priorities innovation and research, - removing barriers to cross-border workforce mobility. In the short term, the greatest emphasis for new measures planned in 2012 will be on learning and development programmes (the priority for 69 percent of respondents), followed by actions aiming to betterGrowth prospects reward employee performance. Less frequent but still indicated in the top twelve ranking are; actionsThe majority of HR professionals across Europe expect in favour of the financial participation of employeesthe impact of the downturn on business results to be to business results (21 percent), in favour ofsignificant, but only one third of respondents will see complementary health care (19 percent) and pensionHR programmes affected. Revenues and investment arrangements (13 percent).are expected to grow more moderately than last year. For the longer term (up to 2014) the range ofThe proportion of companies with growth targets priorities on the HR agenda is much broader than wasabove ten percent has shrunk compared to 2011 but the case in previous editions. Nevertheless, the rankingstill much higher than in 2010 and 2009.Meanwhile of the top three priorities is confirmed again this year,67 percent of companies expect a shift in terms of pointing to:origin of revenues from markets outside Europe. ▪▪ leadership development (mentioned by 46 percent), ▪▪ employee engagement (37 percent) andDespite a gloomier macro-economic climate, the ▪▪ talent retention (37 percent).proportion of companies that expect to add new jobsin 2012 has increased to 47 percent and overtakes the The most notable variation compared to last yearnumber of companies foreseeing a reduction of their relates to the second tier of priorities, headed byworkforce (31 percent).
  2. 2. succession planning, measurement and rewarding of The top three measures indicated by at least half ofemployee performance, and HR-IT system integration. respondents are related to: ▪▪ fostering partnership with education and trainingHR performance institutions towards more relevant curricula; ▪▪new opportunities for training and corporate internship;When judging its own performance against business ▪▪ making information on open positions moreexpectations, HR delivery has matched corporate targets accessible and transparent.in only 10 out of 25 employee-related activities, with 78 percent of HR leaders indicate also their opennessno material improvement compared to last year. In 15 to create additional traineeships opportunities withinHR-specific activities the majority of respondents admit the company, notably in case of public support thatto performing below expectations. The most frequently focus on wage subsidy for such trainees.mentioned areas of excellence, where companies areout-performing business expectations, include corporate HR satisfaction and engagementgovernance, industrial relations, health and safety at workand corporate social responsibility. At the opposite, the The level of satisfaction of HR leaders with theirweakest fields, where HR is looking for improvement, are role and employer remains high with eight out ofin relation to work-life balance programmes, mapping ten declaring that they like both and are not readyand management of competencies and HR metric tools. to make a change. Meanwhile those that could beIn these areas none of the respondent organisations open to change job and move away from HR hasdelivered beyond targets. The largest proportion of further increased to 23 percent this year and 19companies indicating poor performance is in relation to percent could be interested to join a not-for-profitthe management of inter-generational diversity. organisation. Geographic mobility is also more on demand with 41 percent wishing to changeHR-CEO co-operation their country of residence and make a professional experience abroad.The CEO maintains the top position for the highestlevel of cooperation established by HR leaders. In terms HR and the European Unionof most trusted people the primacy goes to HR peerswithin the organisation followed by the own employees, For the second consecutive year, HR executives whowhile CEOs are ranked only in the third position, losing expressed a generally positive perception of the20 percentage points compared to last year’s study. The impact of the EU are no longer the absolute majority,weakest level (or total absence) of cooperation is with while the relative minority of those with a negativeNGOs and with the function responsible for investor opinion increases. The wish list of HR leaders for toprelations, with universities and business schools and with policy priorities include: the recasting of Europeanprofessional associations. The quality of the level of labour laws into a consolidated and simplified code,cooperation with top business executives is reflected a grow plan fostering education, innovation andin the high perception of HR activities by the CEO. 84 research; and action to improve cross-border workpercent of respondents think that their CEO has a high force mobility.or very high perception of what HR does. About the ResearchThis high level of appreciation is less widespread, andfurther declining compared to previous years, when The 7th European HR Barometer survey was carriedreflecting about the perception that employees have out by Aon Hewitt in cooperation with the Europeanof HR (only 33 percent of respondents indicate a high Club for HR between December 2011 and Januaryor very high rate). 2012. In this edition, fifty-two organisations completed the survey. They operate in a wide range of sectors, generating together 517 billion euro of revenuesHR and youth unemployment and with a combined total of 2.4 million employees. 62 percent of participating organisations are listedAlmost all HR leaders surveyed - except a mere two companies. Survey respondents encompass 13 differentpercent – consider that their company has a role nationalities. 71 percent are executives and directorsto play in tackling unemployment of young people with exclusive responsibility for HR at European orand they recognise that this shouldn’t only be the global level.responsibility of public authorities. For more information, visit: www.aonhewitt.com www.europeanclub-hr.eu© Aon Hewitt 2012.

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