Thought Leadership


Out of touch

The perception gap between employees and HR departments

September 26, 2012
KEYWORDS healthy / hiring
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out of itA recent study has found that employees view the workplace much more negatively than human resources representatives do. Many argue that these differing perceptions are indicative of a growing, problematic trend within HR departments: the men and women hired to oversee company welfare have grown increasingly out of touch with the rest of their workforce.

In 2012, Kenexa Thought Leadership released results of an annual survey that polled employees and HR practitioners about various aspects of the American workplace – and every category revealed a glaring disparity between the two groups. While 53% of the HR practitioners stated that their employer awarded fair compensation, only 30% of employees agreed (whereas 57% stated their compensation was ‘unfavorable’).

Nearly three-quarters of HR professionals felt their company provided adequate benefits, while 48% of employees were satisfied.

Only 41% of surveyed employees said they planned to remain at their company over the course of the next year, compared to 83% of HR professionals.

The widest gap concerned company recommendations: 81% of HR professionals thought employees would recommend their company to a friend, while 38% of employees felt the same way.

“What we find in this disconnect,” the report states, “is that HR has become too distanced from the employee population, leading to a misunderstanding of where the employee mindset is.”

To mitigate these concerns, Inc.com reports that many startup firms are working to develop innovative solutions that simplify HR practices and enable HR professionals to forge deeper, more meaningful connections with employees. These include:

The Resumator | Hiring new employees can be a very time-consuming process for HR practitioners. Launched in 2009, The Resumator allows employers to post vacancies anywhere online, from job sites to social media platforms. As applicants submit resumes on these various channels, HR professionals are able to compile them and decide on the best candidate(s) using the user-friendly Resumator interface.

Keas | Employee wellness is a constant concern for HR professionals; a happy, healthy workforce is often the key to workplace engagement. Developed by a former Google executive, Keas uses a game format to introduce healthy habits, such as proper diet and walking/cycling to work. Employees are divided into teams and awarded prizes based on their performance during this 12-week wellness program.

Rypple | The Rypple platform combines employee/employer evaluations with social media to create an effective tool for optimizing workplace communication. Employers upload posts about company objectives, special projects and provide feedback – all in real-time, to ensure content is up-to-date.

TribeHR | This all-encompassing program allows HR professionals to monitor hiring practices, current employees and upcoming events using the same interface. Though TribeHR is designed to assist smaller firms, the program’s price is prorated to accommodate anywhere from 15 employees ($19 per month) to an unspecified number of workers ($399 per month).

While these electronic programs greatly assist communication and information exchange between HR professionals and employees, they only represent part of the solution. The underlying goal of any human resources department should be a thorough, accurate perception of how each employee feels about his or her workplace. And as the Kenexa report demonstrates, the views of most HR practitioners are simply not in line with their respective workforces.

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