Increasing numbers of organisations in the UK are taking the negative impact of damaged employer branding and reputation seriously, with firms quoting it as a more serious problem than profitability or recession, according to a new survey.
The report from lawyers Beachcroft Wansbroughs, suggests that 79 per cent of the 120 HR professionals surveyed placed branding as the most important current issue compared to 57 per cent highlighting profitability and 27 per cent citing recession.
As employment law tightens up and the concept of employer of choice is more widely adopted, the more HR is finding itself dealing with issues of risk management, claims the Employment Issues Monitor:
"The damage to an organisation should employees resort to litigation to pursue their claim is potentially enormous. "Cost issues aside, the resulting negative publicity is detrimental not only in terms of the possible loss of business but also in its effect on the ability of the organisation to attract and retain the best talent – the key to any successful business," it states.
Also suggested by the survey is the complexity of the employment situations with which HR is expected to deal. Top resource drains include maternity/paternity leave, discrimination, diversity and EU legislation:
"The HR profession has gone through many significant changes over the past decade. From work life balance to discrimination, HR professionals are having to respond to a new era in people management.
"Today's professional has to deal with swathes of regulation - some of it very complex - and manage tensions between day-to-day legal requirements and larger organisational issues," says Beachcroft Wansbroughs' Elizabeth Adams.
Brett Walsh, head of Human Capital Advisory Services for Deloitte and Touche, also said that many UK HR departments were suffering from ‘professional schizophrenia’ as it is pulled in too many different directions:
"It is created by a range of problems: technology providing opportunities for HR to develop service delivery models, the rise of global HR, increased focus on due diligence, an increase in employment law and an ever present war for talent.
"Many organisations originally set up departments based purely on personnel issues but this has now changed and it is unsure as to its identity. To respond to this change firms and HR need to come up with new service delivery models making HR a more strategic function," he said.