Top Priorities for HR Managers for 2018

The New Year is underway and good resolutions have begun to emerge, including in human resources. Top priorities for HR managers for 2018 will include improving engagement and productivity, and financial support for employees, particularly for retirement.

According to the annual Human Resources Trends by Morneau Shepell, the top three priorities for HR managers for 2018 are: improving employee engagement (65%), attracting and retaining employees with the right skills (56%) and helping their organization continually adapt to change (55%). These areas of interest are accompanied by actions to be implemented and concerns about employee health and cost reduction.

Improvement of health and engagement

Improvement of engagement includes that of health: 47% of employers will make improvement of health a priority in 2018, up 6 points from last year. Mental health in particular will be at the centre of their efforts. They consider it one of the most difficult problems to manage in the workplace, in particular due to inadequate knowledge and behaviour by managers on the subject, a lack of knowledge and willingness by employees on the use of assistance and counselling resources, and stigma attached to mental health problems.

Reducing the costs of absenteeism and improving productivity

One of the top priorities for HR managers for 2018 is to reduce the costs of absenteeism. Two-thirds of employees interviewed said that reducing absenteeism was among their goals for the coming year. To do this, they plan on training managers: the number of respondents who have decided to implement actions of this type to improve results in disability management has almost doubled since last year, from 33% to 65%. In addition, to improve productivity, they intend to simplify administration of HR programs to allow more time for value-creating activities.

Salary increases

Salaries are expected to rise 2.3% this year, compared to 2.2% in 2017. This figure hides disparities both between sectors as well as by province. The biggest increases are expected in public services (2.9%), wholesale trade, manufacturing, finance and insurance (all 2.7%), while mining, oil and gas will have to settle for 0.8%. In Quebec, the increase is expected to reach 2.6%, compared to 1.8% in Alberta.

Optimization of pension plans

Finally, a large majority of companies (91%) are concerned about their financial readiness for retirement of their employees. That’s why those who offer a DB plan will be looking this year for ways to reduce costs and improve performance. Preparation also involves educating and informing employees, for 58% of HR managers, who have already put actions in place along these lines or intend to do so this year.

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