“Plenty of positives” in annual survey of people professionals

Job satisfaction in the people profession is at high (with room for improvement), suggests the latest CIPD and Workday survey.

Four in five (80%) of those who work in the people profession say it offers them a meaningful career and almost three quarters (73%) believe they have the opportunity to add value to their organisation, the latest People Profession Survey from the CIPD and Workday reveals.

The annual benchmarking report explores the perceptions and experiences of those working in all fields of the people profession. Overall, it paints a positive picture, with the majority finding enjoyment in their work.

Focus on the data

Of the 1,368 in-house people professionals who were surveyed by YouGov: 

•    60% say they look forward to coming into work most days

•    73% say the profession offers good career prospects 

•    65% say the profession offers good earning potential 

However, the report also highlights areas where the people profession can improve, particularly around people analytics and data skills, where expertise is lacking, but demand is high. Only 6% are using advanced analytical techniques to help make business decisions, while 37% collect and use very basic HR data.

Separate polling carried out by the CIPD in April built on the survey to explore the impact of COVID-19 on people professionals. It shows that 57% of people professionals agreed that their people team are stepping up to support line managers through the crisis. However, only 41% of all business leaders agreed.

The people profession also acknowledges the strain workers are under, with more than a third (37%) saying that a key business challenge is helping people to manage the impact of home working on their mental health. 


Plenty of positives

Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD, said: “There are plenty of positives to take away in the latest People Profession Survey. It’s good to see that so many people professionals get meaning and value from their careers, which is likely to be reflected in them showing strong commitment and engagement.

 “The demands placed on the people profession over the last few months have never been greater with the COVID-19 pandemic, and we have seen so many positive examples of how individuals and teams have risen to the challenge.

“It’s particularly encouraging to see the focus on supporting line managers, many of whom are now having to manage teams remotely for the first time and support workers through these anxious and uncertain times. 

“However, there is always scope for development and, once again, the report highlights the need for people professionals to improve their analytics capabilities. The crisis has put people much more at the heart of business thinking everywhere, but we need to show we can engage with business leaders at all levels with clear and actionable insights to drive positive change. This will be even more important as businesses look to drive performance and productivity as they chart their way through more challenging and uncertain economic times, and must balance financial, legal and ethical perspectives in the decisions that impact their workforces.  

“People professionals will continue to face many demanding months ahead as we slowly come out the lockdown, and the full impact this crisis has had on the economy is laid bare. We will be here to support them through it all.” 

Fast-changing environment

Peter Gamble, Regional Vice President at Workday, UK and Ireland, said: “It has been a challenging year but one that has highlighted the importance of the people profession. Amidst uncertainty, people leaders have had to make confident decisions about the best way forward for their organisation and their workforce. In a fast-changing environment, leaders have had to help people stay informed, engaged and supported while adopting what have been entirely new ways of working for many.

 “Responding to change quickly and effectively has been key. Businesses must strive to build a culture of agility, data-driven decision-making, and automation to fuel the recovery from the effects of this year and to drive innovation in the future.”

Further findings in the report explore the change or improvement that people professionals would most like to see in HR capability: 

•    Coaching line managers (32%)

•    OD and change management skills (26%)

•    Building relationships with colleagues and understanding their priorities (25%)


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