How does your EHS agenda for '05 fit in with top human resource issues? Rising healthcare costs, employee retention and the need to ramp up productivity top the list of trends that will affect U.S. businesses in 2005, according to a new Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey.

Responses come from 168 non-human resource (HR) executives, 107 non-HR senior managers, and 310 HR executives, who rate the top management issues for 2005.

Healthcare costs is the top concern, with 57 percent of respondents reporting healthcare cost escalation as a top trend affecting policies that impact employees.

Nearly 40 percent of survey respondents said employee retention, economic uncertainty and the need to increase productivity will be top trends affecting policies that impact employees.

Other 2005 trends: the need to build employee morale; employee recruitment; aligning compensation with corporate values; a growing complexity of legal compliance; demand for flexible work arrangements; and the exportation of U.S. jobs.

Eighty percent of respondents completely or somewhat agree that the role of HR can help organizations control costs and increase retention.

Hmm… what would they say about safety?

Seventy-seven percent agree HR can help increase productivity, 69 percent agree that HR can identify future business leaders, and 64 percent agree that HR can act as a trusted advisor in helping organizations achieve their business goals.