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HR Department Survey Results Are In; How Do You Compare?

E-pinions
by Stephen Bruce, PhD, PHR
  • The most common HR-to-employee ratios are between 1 to 101 and 1 to 200.
  • While 1% of respondents earned over $200,000 per year, the most commonly reported salary was between $51,000 and $70,000 per year.
  • The most commonly outsourced function was background checks

Thanks to all 1,839 companies that participated in the survey!

Here are the detailed survey results. How does your organization measure up?


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Staff-to-Employee Ratio

When asked about their HR staff-to-employee ratio, 42.4% indicated that their HR departments operate with a ratio between 1 HR professional to 101 employees and 1 HR professional to 200employees. A closer look shows that 18.2% operate with a ratio of 1 to 101–150, 10.1% operate with a ratio of 1 to 151–200, and 14.1% operate with a ratio of 1 HR professional to 201 or more employees. On the flip side, 26.3% operate with a ratio of 1 to 50, and 31.3% operate with 1 HR professional for 51–100 employees.

 

 

What Are Your Departmental Responsibilities?

Training companywide supervisors and employees on employment law issues is the responsibility of 65% of survey participants, and training them on job requirements is the responsibility of 36.4%. Facilities management is the responsibility of 13.2%, and safety/security is managed by 34.3%.

Employee Benefits 93.4%
Employment Law Compliance 91%
Recruiting and Staffing 90.6%
Compensation 85.8%
Retirement Plans 75.5%
Training and Development 74.9%
Recognition/Incentives 72.1%
Talent Management 59.9%
Company Events (Parties, Picnics, Ceremonies, etc.) 59%
Payroll 54.5%
Safety/Security/Loss Prevention 43%
Corporate/Internal Communications 43.1%
Charitable Giving/Volunteer Programs 36.3%
Relocation 36.1%
Social Media/Social Networking Activities 18.3% (16% in 2012)
Facilities Management 15.8%
Operational Responsibilities 13.1% (10% in 2012)
Green Workplace and Energy- Efficiency Initiatives 7.2% (6% in 2012)

 

Percent of Departments Reporting Responsibility for …

 

Outsourced Functions

Of those that do, the most frequently outsourced function is background/reference checks at 67.1% (up from 60% last year), followed by payroll for 29.2% (down from 38% last year), then unemployment and workers’ compensation claims processing at 24.8% and 24.7%, respectively (28% and 27% last year). Benefits administration is outsourced by 20.5% of respondents (down from 23% in 2012). Additional outsourced functions include training at 6.9% and recruiting/staffing at 6.1%.

 

 

What Functions Are Self-Service?

Much like in 2012, the HR function most frequently provided as an online self-service feature to employees is the employee handbook for our 2013 survey participants (73% in 2013 vs. 65% in 2012). At 69.5%, benefits information is the second most frequent employee service featured online this year, though benefits enrollment is sixth place at 49.4%.

Time and attendance is online for 63.6%, and name/address change is self-service for 54.4%. Vacation/PTO requests are online for 49.6% vs. 45% in 2012, and performance evaluations are available for 33.5%, up from 27% in 2012.

 

What Are HR Managers Paid?

While 1% of respondents earned over $200,000 per year, the most commonly reported salary was between $51,000 and $70,000 per year.

 

How Does HR Use Social Media

When asked which social media format they use, 70.9% of survey participants identified their company’s intranet as the vehicle they use to communicate information to employees. Coming in a distant second, text messaging is used by 21.3%, and Facebook is an option for 16.4%.

 

Who Conducts HR Audits?

Corporate HR is the leading conductor of audits at 32.7% of survey participants’ organizations, and an internal audit department conducts the audit at 30.4% of respondents. Outside consultants are brought in at 22.7%, and the legal department conducts the HR audit at 4.5%. Risk management leads the audit team at 3.1%, and the compliance officer provides this service at 8.2%. The finance department conducts the audit at 6.1%, and the operations department is responsible for conducting the audit at 2%.

 

How Strategic Is HR?

HR is viewed as a strategic partner by management teams for 32.5% of survey participants and as a credible business asset for 29.4%. It’s still viewed as an administrative function, though, for 34.1%.

 

Over three quarters of our survey participants play a role in strategic business planning at their organizations with 37.6% holding a position of influence within the inner circle. HR plays a major role, though outside the inner circle, for 25.4%, and at least 23.6% of HR departments play a minor role. HR has no role in strategic business planning for 12.4% of survey respondents.

Who’s the Boss?

Our 2013 survey reveals that HR reports to a variety of executives:

CEO or Owner 39.5%
President or Executive Director 22%
CFO/head of Finance 14.2%
Head of Operations 9.2%
In-house legal counsel 2.1%

 

Departmental Changes

No significant changes have been experienced in the last year by 42.7% of participants in our survey, though 16% of the HR departments have been reduced in size, and departmental budgets have been reduced for 15%. Automation initiatives have been undertaken by 28.4%, while 4.3% have implemented shared services models and 6.5% increased outsourcing. Previously outsourced functions were brought back into the HR department by 2.7%, size of the department increased for 15%, and departmental budgets increased for 6.8%.

Challenges

A variety of challenges face our survey respondents.

Healthcare reform 22%
Recruiting for 20%
Employee motivation and retention 13%
Smaller HR departments and/or increased workload 10%
Compliance issues 7%
Implementing systems and/or managing data 7%
Mergers/acquisitions/growth 7%
Comp & benefits 6%
Budget limitations 5%
Talent and/or performance management 5%
Training/development 5%
Managing change 2%
Getting or keeping a seat at the table 2%
RIF/downsizing 2%

 

About You

HR managers and directors account for 53.4% of the survey participants who self-identified, other HR professionals make up 29.2%, and 17.4% are in other areas with HR responsibilities.

Full-time positions are held by 95.9%, 89.1% are in exempt positions. Long hours are routine for 93.2% of survey respondents who work an average of more than 40 hours a week (up from 73% in 2012).

Many of the HR departments represented in our survey are small, with 32.5% being one-person departments and 2- to 3-person departments accounting for 30.2% of survey participants. Departments with 4–6 comprise another 15%, and 6% have departments with 7–10 on their staff. Larger departments are represented as well. Departments with 11–20 employees are represented by 6% of survey participants, and 8% are departments with more than 20 HR professionals.

An experience level of 6–10 years accounts for 15% of survey participants, and 72.7% have more than 10 years of HR experience. A bachelor’s degree is required for 59.8%, and a master’s degree is required for 14.9%. Some college or an associate’s degree is required for 18.4%. Professional certification is required for 18.5%, with PHR (Professional in Human Resources) at 53.4% and SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources) at 40.4% of those requiring certification.

Participants

The majority of our survey respondents provide guidance to small- or medium-size employers, with 53.9% providing HR services to a workforce of 1–250 employees and another 16.8% providing guidance to 251–500 employees at their organizations.

Among our survey respondents, 20.6% have a workforce that is 10% or less exempt, and 20.4% have a workforce that is 11%–20% exempt. At the other end of the scale, 5.5% have a workforce that is 81%–90% exempt, and 4.5% have a workforce that is 91%–100% exempt employees.

Of the survey participants, 21.5% have employees that belong to a union, with 1% having a 91%–100% unionized workforce and 5% having a workforce that is 10% or less unionized.

A little over half (50.5%) of the participants are in service industries; 22.6% are in agriculture, forestry, construction, manufacturing, or mining; 7.4% are in wholesale, retail, transportation, or warehousing; and 19.3% are in real estate, utilities, or “other.”

A total of 1,839 organizations participated in this survey, conducted in August 2013. Of those who identified themselves, 51.9% are privately owned, 11% are public corporations, and 28.1% are government or nonprofits. Another 2.8% are educational institutions, and 3.7% are cooperatives or employee/member owned.

Thanks to all who participated in the survey!

Next survey topics include Employee Leave and Holidays.

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