Survey: HR Professionals Least Prepared for Mid-Career Employee Engagement

HR professionals face challenges in their day-to-day operations, and one of the largest is keeping mid-career employees fully engaged, according to a survey by Sirota Survey Intelligence, which specializes in attitude research. Further, this situation is one for which HR professionals said they are the least prepared. Baby boomers’ expected retirement wave is the challenge for which they are second-least prepared, according to the survey of about 100 HR professionals.

In addition to these two issues, the other top three HR challenges that are expected to affect organizations most in the next three years are recruiting talented, experienced and high-potential employees, post-hiring training and mentoring and employees voluntarily leaving their jobs.

HR professionals said they are most prepared to deal with telecommuting employees, recruiting employees and accommodating part-time workers and flexible schedules.

“While companies successfully and aggressively recruit high-talent employees, they continue to struggle with retention,” said Douglas Klein, Sirota Survey Intelligence president. “In fact, much of management’s difficulty stems from their inattention to personal and performance-related needs of these individuals.”

Klein emphasized the importance of providing a firm foundation for all employees, as well as equal footing, in order to keep morale high and to maximize employee retention.

“These high-talent folks require the same kind of attention that all employees need,” Klein said, “a basic sense of equity or fair treatment; a sense of achievement, including a clear mission that they can believe in; available resources and rewards and continued development and finally, a sense of camaraderie.”

Further, Klein said all this goes back to the challenges HR professionals cited as those for which they are least prepared.

“As labor markets tighten up in light of expected baby boomer retirements and other factors, companies need to aggressively identify the core and variable elements of the employment-value proposition as these individuals move through the stages of the employment life cycle with their employers,” Klein said. “Having an effective program to measure employee attitudes and take action on the findings is an important place to start.”

According to the survey, the challenges that have/will have a major impact on the organization are:

  • Recruiting

    • Now: 64 percent
    • In three years: 68 percent

  • Keeping mid-career employees engaged

    • Now: 43 percent
    • In three years: 58 percent

  • Onboarding

    • Now: 57 percent
    • In three years: 53 percent

  • Employees voluntarily leaving

    • Now: 37 percent
    • In three years: 44 percent

  • Expected baby boomer retirements

    • Now: 22 percent
    • In three years: 38 percent

  • Accommodating part-time employees and flexible work schedules

    • Now: 24 percent
    • In three years: 33 percent

  • Accommodating telecommuting workers

    • Now: 13 percent
    • In three years: 18 percent

According to the survey, the challenges for which organizations are least prepared are:

  • Keeping mid-career employees engaged: 48 percent
  • Expected baby boomer retirements: 45 percent
  • Employees voluntarily leaving: 44 percent
  • Onboarding: 34 percent
  • Recruiting: 29 percent
  • Accommodating part-time employees and flexible work schedules: 25 percent
  • Accommodating telecommuting workers: 22 percent