Employee relations is a hot topic at the moment and HR departments are capitalising on the advantages of a skilled and motivated workforce. Experienced interims with a background in implementing talent management programmes to educate and motivate staff are in high demand. In today’s uncertain economic climate, businesses understand the value of an engaged workforce. Nurturing existing talent has a positive impact on staff attitude and retention, which ultimately provides greater return on investment.
Public sector HR
Last quarter we reported that HR interims with change management experience were sought-after within the NHS. The transition of primary care trusts to clinical commissioning groups was creating a need for experienced professionals to oversee restructuring programmes and manage staff morale. We are still noting an increase in interim HR positions within the public sector, particularly within NHS trusts north of London. Restructuring programmes began in the capital and are now filtering up through the country. We are expecting this activity to continue into next year, when the new CCGs actively begin making decisions on local services.
Earlier this year, we reported that senior change management professionals were in demand to manage restructuring programmes not only within the public sector, but also within financial services and other private sectors. This was largely in response to organisations streamlining departments in an attempt to cut costs. However we are now seeing a rise in HR interims being drafted in to work on recruitment projects, which is a positive sign of market confidence. As organisations look beyond the recent economic uncertainty, they are concentrating on avenues for growth and development. HR professionals with solid experience in recruitment are required to ensure that new employees are able to hit the ground running to offer real value to the organisation.
Agency workers regulations update
Thankfully it seems that very few employers are reducing their use of agency workers in direct response to AWR. Although some clients and candidates were questioning the implications throughout quarter four last year, it is now evident that the legislation has had almost no effect on the market.
In October 2011 there were concerns that companies would shy away from hiring agency workers if they were legally required to offer them the same rights as directly recruited workers. However, contract and interim staff remain a valuable commodity for employers who seek to attract talent without the permanent headcount costs. Candidates are enjoying the increased security that the new regulations offer, like equal pay, breaks and annual leave after twelve weeks, use of car parking and the staff canteen where applicable.
The future of HR
The HR interim market remains buoyant, both within the private and public sectors. Although the economy is still somewhat unpredictable, skilled HR professionals are integral to market recovery. And experienced HR interims are required to maximise existing talent while efficiently overseeing targeted growth through employment. We predict that there will be a greater focus on employee relations towards the end of this year and into 2013 as companies look to invest in and retain their star talent.