A survey of top US executives, senior managers, and human resource professionals hints at a shift in the 'jobless recovery', with executives reporting that their attention will be focused on employee retention and recruitment in 2004, rather than on pressures to reduce staff or increase productivity with fewer employees.
The survey, conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), also revealed that as the recovery continues in 2004, those HR professionals who think most strategically will find top executives eager to listen to their advice on human capital issues.
Across the board, 79% of top executives and 77% of senior managers agreed that wisely managing human capital is "very important" to the success of an organisation, and that they expect to spend at least the same or more time focused on human capital management than they did in 2003.
A sign that employers will be spending more time on employee satisfaction is the perception among senior managers that more of their time will be spent responding to demands for flexible work schedules, rather than on reducing staff or on communications to maintain employee morale.
"These survey results indicate a clear calling from executives and senior managers for HR professionals who understand the crucial role their contributions can play in helping an organisation achieve its business goals," said SHRM's president and CEO, Susan Meisinger.
Meisinger pointed to the survey's findings that 63% of top executives and 66% of senior managers say it is "very important" to align employees with business goals rather than just give them a job to do, with 62% of top executives and 73% of senior managers either "completely" or "somewhat" acknowledging the contribution of HR in achieving this alignment.
Moreover, the majority of top executives either "completely" or "somewhat" agreed that HR professionals play a role in creating employee loyalty, which in turn impacts customer loyalty (66%).