HR Reviews Structure As Responsibilities Increase, But Headcount’s Flat

Future HR

Nearly two-thirds of HR professionals – some 63% – have revisited their department’s structure in reaction to changes they’ve seen between 2020 and 2021.

Meanwhile, HR consultant McLean & Company’s 2022 Trends database suggests that only 37% of non-HR professionals see their HR team as a partner in the planning and execution of organizational strategy. As a result, the company recommended that Human Resources operations be structured to operate more efficiently and effectively.

HR depts. review structure as responsibilities increase, but their headcount remains flat. #HE #HRTech @HRMcLeanCo Click To Tweet

McLean contends that poorly structured HR functions impact the larger organization through bottlenecks, delays in meeting client needs or misalignment between HR priorities and HR resource allocation. Well-designed HR structure enables improved organizational performance, the company contended.

On its website, McLean said:

  • There’s no one-size-fits-all structure for HR. Companies need to Invest time in identifying how their HR function enables its organizational strategy.
  • HR should be optimized to ensure resources are allocated where they’ll have the greatest impact, without creating conflict between subfunctions.
  • Prepare for iteration. Designing an HR function is an iterative process that requires re-evaluation of previous design decisions to make sure they’re still appropriate.

In addition, the company said, when organizational goals change it’s necessary to revisit the HR structure to align it with new strategies. The structure’s design must be up to date and future-proof.

Effectiveness Rising, But…

Despite the challenges of the last two years, McLean said HR is seen as being more effective than it previously was. However, a significant gap exists when it comes to how HR and non-HR professionals perceive HR effectiveness. The gap remains significant,  McLean said, indicating a need to improve communication about HR’s role and how it enables the organization’s success. 

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, HR functions are spending more time on talent acquisition this year – 20% of their time compared to 16% in 2021. Ensuring compliance and talent management followed at 13% and 10% respectively. Also not surprisingly, the level of stress among HR professionals rose by 10 percentage points between 2021 and 2022.

The report also said that although HR’s strategic role has expanded and its work involves an increased number of full-time employees, most respondents don’t believe their department’s headcount will rise.

Image: iStock

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