Randstad research shows organisations praise HR performance during turbulent times - but believe the toughest challenge lies ahead

Research supports Randstad’s latest Workpocket guide on HR and employment issues

Research by Randstad, the world's second largest recruitment and human resources (HR) services company, has found that 88% of organisations believe their HR department played a vital strategic role during the recession - but that HR's long term reputation will be shaped by how it manages in the post recession aftermath. Randstad’s research supports the publication of its latest Workpocket 2011/12, a comprehensive guide on UK HR and employment issues. The Workpocket guide contains valuable insights into best practice and features case studies from leading organisations including BNP Paribas, Pace, Barclays Retail Bank, Acme Whistles and Unilever.

Mark Bull, CEO of Randstad UK, said "It is highly encouraging to see that HR departments have weathered the storm of the recession so well, demonstrating their significant role in business strategy. Unfortunately, yesterday's successes can quickly become swamped by tomorrow's problems. After an overwhelming vote of confidence, HR departments now face a decisive year ahead. Things are moving fast. In particular the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR), which come into force on October 1st, need to be prepared for now. Many employees are also starting to flex their new found confidence by securing employment elsewhere - leading to skills gap issues which many recovering organisations can ill afford. Tackling the challenges while moving quickly to capitalise on the opportunities will ensure HR departments help organisations prepare for the future, whilst cementing their own strategic standing."

Randstad’s research showed that the three crucial challenges for HR departments are expected to be: 1) major new legislation changes such as AWR, 2) rapidly escalating employee mobility and 3) social networking reputation risks.

Agency Workers Regulations
Only seven per cent of UK employers had conducted an assessment of how they will be affected by the impact of the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) by Quarter 1 this year. The legislation, which will give Agency workers the right to the same basic working and employment conditions that they would have been entitled to if they had been recruited directly by the organisation to do the same role, comes into force on October 1st and many experts believe it will take at least 6 months to prepare.

Employee Mobility
Compared with the rest of the world, UK worker confidence in finding a new position within six months has increased by the greatest amount in the last quarter - by eight percentage points to 64% of all employees surveyed.

Social Networking
Just a third (35%) of UK employers are engaging with employees to provide guidelines on how to best present the company within social media - compared with 70% of employers in India and 52% of employers in China. This leaves many UK organisations exposed to reputation risks, whilst missing the opportunities it provides.

Randstad’s Workpocket guide discusses many of the issues HR departments will face over the coming year, so that departments can continue to demonstrate their strategic capabilities, and navigate these new challenges in the same way as they have done during the recession. Complimentary editions are being delivered to Randstad company clients from June onwards and copies can also be requested at the Randstad website.



About the research
The employee mobility and social networking findings: Randstad’s quarterly Workmonitor survey covers 29 countries. The UK survey was conducted via 400 online questionnaires among a population aged 18-65, working a minimum of 24 hours a week in a paid job (not self-employed) during February 17 to 27, 2011. The AWR research findings: An online survey of Randstad operating company clients was conducted in December 2010/January 2011, alongside client seminars on the subject of AWR. In total, reaction was gauged from 321 clients. The views on HR performance: Heads of departments (other than HR) from 185 organisations within the professional services sector were surveyed online during May 2011.

About Workpocket
The Randstad Workpocket is a comprehensive reference guide for anyone who has dealings with employment issues and is particularly useful for SMEs. The Workpocket is updated annually to take account of changes in human resources’ best practice and workplace legislation. Best practice points in this year's Randstad Workpocket include: the AWR legislation - a practical approach; putting a value on the HR role; the recruiting process; diversity and equal opportunities; the employment contract; retaining and managing talent; harnessing social media; training and development; reward systems; tax and statutory payments; pensions; good health and safety practice; discipline and grievance; and employment tribunals.