Learning and development top HR priority for next 12 months

HR subscription service XpertHR’s annual HR roles and responsibilities survey finds professionals are focusing most on workforce upskilling.

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For the first time in the survey’s 15-year history, learning and development (L&D) takes the top spot among the 316 HR practitioners surveyed during December 2016 and January 2017.With fears of a post-Brexit talent drain and widespread skills shortages across many sectors, the findings suggest companies are looking to build capacity internally through talent investment.Sheila Attwood, pay and HR practice managing editor at XpertHR, commented: “One of the signs of increased business confidence among employers is the corresponding increase in movement within the labour market, resulting in retention issues and skills shortages."

Data analytics comes of age?

Alongside learning and development, and related to it from the perspective of talent management, the survey finds top priorities for firms across both the private and public sector include HR analytics and information systems, recruitment, benefits and rewards, and employee engagement.“Companies need to retain their talent and we have noted a continued focus on staff retention, recruitment and employee engagement,” continues Sheila Attwood.Workforce and succession planning are also high on the agenda, as is HR analytics and technology – businesses want to improve the quality of information they gather about their people to gain meaningful statistics that can enhance strategic decision-making.”

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Public sector looks to L&D to motivate?

Focusing on the public sector, training and organisation development is also a key issue. “With continued funding cuts, pay awards averaging around one per cent for the public sector and a series of reforms to the terms and conditions of public sector workers that have been going on since 2010 (including changes to pension schemes), it is not an easy time for HR practitioners and employers in this sector.“Over the next year, they will have a challenging time keeping employees engaged and motivated, and training and development can be a motivator in the absence of big pay rises.”

The spring issue of Relocate magazine features more of the latest research and analysis on HR and talent management. Download your copy here. Relocate will also be reporting from the CIPD Learning & Development show on 10-11 May 2017 to bring you the latest insights.

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