Posted by: Sarah Westwood

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Oakleaf HR Directors Networking Evening – What’s the HR landscape for 2018?

In early January 2018 we carried out research across our clients in the Midlands region and asked what they expect the HR challenges of 2018 to be. It is no doubt a challenging landscape ahead and the results from our survey illustrated this, so it is not surprising that many organisations are gearing themselves up for a hectic 12 months. During last week’s HR Director’s dinner we discussed the findings from the research and the conversations we very interesting.

Many organisations are preparing for the challenges ahead and are particularly focused on Recruitment, Retention, Engagement and Talent Development. Within recruitment, the focus seems to be on finding innovative ways of hiring scarce talent. Businesses are not just looking at hiring just based on skill set, but equally as important are values and behaviours, as improving customer experience becomes more important for organisations.

With regards to specific Brexit challenges, the main areas of concern are around recruitment and retention, and in particular the impact on those companies that employ critical EU citizens. Though the challenges are far reaching and raise the questions such as how to manage talent across new EU boundaries. Anticipated issues include reduced opportunities for UK nationals working in Europe and the barrier to sourcing European young talent and attraction of non-UK residents – these are both subjects being debated by HR departments around the UK. Is the solution to move out of the UK? Several businesses have started to make plans to move into Europe and face the challenge of doing this.

Increasing competition, sophisticated customers, regulation, and the pace of opportunity are all concerns as well as the impact of regulation and optimising business performance. There is pressure on managing costs against increasing revenue growth, the need to increase activities without significantly increasing headcount, to continue to grow globally and put the required infrastructure in place, as well as managing the impact of Brexit whilst improving engagement and succession planning. Many clients are looking at develop an inclusive workforce, embedding significant cultural change, developing leaders and making organisational structure changes.

The approach that HR is taking is varied, but many departments are looking at a joined-up approach covering HR, L&D and Reward as well as improving recruitment processes and investment in employee engagement. One area many clients mentioned in the survey is the increased investment in leadership development and investing in line manager development to motivate and manage employees better. Others also mentioned relaunching their employer brand and re-focusing activities around those that add most value, identifying customer needs and working on them.

If you would like to join the Oakleaf Midlands HR Directors Networking Group then please contact Sarah Westwood – This is a group of influential Senior HR Leaders and HR Directors who meet quarterly for dinner where we discuss key HR issues and challenges, sharing experiences and ideas.


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