HR for HR: what makes a good workplace culture?

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By nature of their profession, those who work in HR are constantly thinking about others within their organisation. Dealing with issues such as hiring, benefits and performance management make HR professionals people-oriented and interested in the workplace.

Research from the Hays What Workers Want report 2018 shows that HR workers strongly value their own workplace culture, as over three-quarters (77%) ranked people and culture as important when considering whether to apply for a job, notably higher than the UK average (63%).

Considering the importance of this to HR professionals, what is it about their workplace that matters to them? And how can employers make sure they’re creating the best environment for their staff?

Equality, diversity and inclusion practices

A clear finding from our research is that HR professionals are passionate about a working culture which champions equality, diversity and inclusion. In light of growing legislation around reporting of ED&I practices, HR employers can stay ahead by publicly demonstrating their commitment to improving diversity within their industry and integrating these values into their working culture.

Employers would also benefit from stating their ED&I practices early in the recruitment process, as 78% of HR professionals will only apply to an organisation where this is the case. Despite demand for ED&I transparency, less than a quarter (23%) of HR employers state they promote this information to prospective applicants, potentially misrepresenting their workplace culture.

Flexible working benefits

Unsurprisingly for a workforce with a thorough understanding of potential benefit offerings, 92% of HR workers claim to be aware of their flexible working options, higher than the UK average (73%) according to the Hays Salary Guide & Recruiting Trends report 2019. Flexible working options are strongly valued among this cohort, as 40% of HR professionals believe that changing their working hours (including flexible working) would help them most in improving work-life balance.

Despite communicating working options to their staff, employers could better integrate this into their talent attraction strategy as currently less than half (41%) do so. Underselling their flexible working culture may hinder their ability to attract professionals for whom this is a priority.

Learning and skill development

Finally, a learning-driven culture is vital in any organisation, especially considering the current skills shortage many sectors are facing. However, the opportunity to learn new skills is particularly valued by HR staff, as 41% consider training and/or professional certification support to be the most important factor when looking for a role in this sector.

Those working in HR can do their part to prioritise learning in their workplace by actively showing their organisation that they are genuinely committed to their skill development. By offering opportunities to their employees to expand their skillsets, HR employers can also make sure that their workplace culture is one in which learning is celebrated. 

Being transparent and upfront about ED&I practices, offering flexible working benefits and encouraging learning and skill development are three crucial elements of HR workplaces. Accurately articulating the positives of their workplace culture early on in in the recruitment process will ensure employees attract HR professionals who are a good fit for their organisation.

About Barney Ely

Barney Ely

Barney Ely, Director of Hays Human Resources

Barney joined Hays in 1993 as a business graduate and is now Director for Hays Human Resources. Barney also has operational responsibility for Hays offices across the South of England, placing professionals in over 20 industry sectors covering everything from accountancy and finance to construction, IT education and healthcare.

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