How HRDs feel about the future of work

For the eighth year in a row, Vlerick Business School and Hudson have carried out an HR Barometer to examine the trends and challenges in HR in Belgium, by conducting a questionnaire among the HR Managers and Directors of Belgium’s leading for-profit organisations. This year, an extra spotlight was put on the Future of Work. What is the current state of affairs in the Belgian HR landscape? What areas form the top HR priorities and challenges? And also, in what direction is the future heading?

Benoit Marchand

Priorities and masteries

In the past year, domains such as Well-being, Engagement, and the New Ways of Working remained high priority, but Selection & Recruitment was clearly the top priority. In terms of perceived mastery, HR leaders felt their departments were most capable in domains such as Industrial Relationships, Well-being and Compensation & Benefits. However, once again, Selection & Recruitment came out on top.

HR can be proud of its many strengths, HR practices where the HR leaders indicate they were high priority but also mastered well, including Well-being, Compensation & Benefits, and Recruitment & Selection. However, some areas for improvement still remain. HR leaders believe that domains such as Talent Management, Employer Branding and Retention – although high on the to-do list – require some more work to bring them to the desired mastery level.

Overall, compared to last year, the level of priorities is normalising, alleviating some of the pressure on HR departments. HR is trying to refocus, choosing more its priorities rather than trying to deal with everything at the same time.

Struggle to secure the talent pipeline

However, one notable trend is the continued struggle HR experiences to find and retain the right talent for its organisation. With Retention and Employer Branding being among the highest risers in priority, and with Engagement and Talent Management showing a drop in mastery since last year, it becomes clear that securing the talent pipeline is becoming an increasingly difficult feat for HR. Even more so, as Recruitment & Selection is also the top planned priority for the coming year.

The Future of Work

HR leaders feel rather confident when it comes to the Future of Work, as most consider their HR departments to be frontrunners and believe that they are well-prepared for the future. As investments in technology will allow for certain HR processes to be more automated, the Future of Work will lead to HR taking up more of a strategic role as well as a coaching role, rather than an administrative role.

Technology will also be used to define roles and tasks, to provide training opportunities and to recruit and select new talent. Despite most HR leaders agreeing that employees will need a completely different set of skills in the future, investments in reskilling, upskilling and outskilling are lagging a bit behind.

A lack of resources, obtaining buy-in from leaders and adapting formal procedures are some of the main obstacles that HR must overcome in order to adjust to the new world of work.

About the HR Barometer

The HR Barometer is a yearly initiative by Vlerick Business School and Hudson. This online survey was administered to the HR Managers and Directors of Belgium’s largest for-profit organizations. In total, 115 organisations participated in the survey, which together employ more than 320 000 people. This research was led by Ellen Volckaert (Hudson) and professor Dirk Buyens (Vlerick Business School).

More information?

Download the HR Barometer paper 2022.

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