Reward and Talent – Key Issues and Actions for 2015

By Tom Mornement

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It looks set to be a challenging year for HR but one full of opportunities, which if handled correctly could see HR earn their place in the boardroom. Preparation is going to be key!

Here at Purple House HR, we have outlined the key challenges HR will be faced with this year and have provided some clear actions for you to turn these challenges into opportunities.

Attracting and Hiring Talent

Attracting and hiring talent is the No1 priority this year for CEOs. The job market is at its highest since 2007, with 37% of workers planning to leave their current job in 2015 (ILM Survey); it is now more crucial than ever to deliver a quality candidate experience.

As this is such an important task this year, our next post will focus solely on delivering a quality candidate experience but here are a few tips in the meantime:

  • Respond to everyone – by not getting back to all candidates, yes even the unsuccessful ones, you are ostracising them from any future roles and potentially losing a customer for your business. It may seem like a time consuming process but having some template responses that you can work from will speed it up, and the gratitude from applicants means it’s worth the effort.
  • Ask for candidate feedback – what better way to ensure you’re providing the best quality candidate experience than asking the candidates themselves for feedback.
  • Mobile optimised – ensure your application process is mobile optimised, providing a simple and fast process for the candidate.

??Agile working

Another key challenge for HR will be keeping their staff happy, especially as the workforce becomes increasingly diverse. Employees know their worth and if they feel undervalued they will leave your company for one where they feel more appreciated. Invest in your workforce and help them to achieve their potential. How do you do this? Simply listen to their needs and utilise their skill-set, if you don’t, another company will.

Action 1: Get to know your workforce. Hold a review with every employee. Don’t just discuss what they have and haven’t achieved in the last quarter/year. Find out what their aspirations are? Are there any skills they have which they believe are being underutilised?

Action 2: Build a strategy. Outline what was discussed in each review and then work out a strategy for how they can achieve their goals. It’s not all about performance management, you must really take on board what staff members say. For example, if they feel they are not progressing with a particular project or are being left in the dark about business policies, introduce a stronger coaching and mentoring program. A one-size fits all approach won’t cut it, you need to respond with measures that answer each individual’s concerns. This will prove to employees that they have the support they need to fulfil their role.

Action 3: Strive for positive work/life balance. Understand what this means for different employees and look to put measures in place so that it can be achieved. This will help to keep employees happy and focused. Options could include flexible working hours, ability to work from home, time off for volunteering, monthly social events or sporting activities during working hours.

HR Metrics

This year there will be even more pressure on HR Metrics. It’s imperative that you know your numbers and utilise your data to ensure HR matches the business’ strategy. A well thought out metric system will help you to identify both costs and opportunities, and use these to develop business objectives and ways in which you can achieve them.

Action: Create your own HR dashboard to make your data really meaningful.

Examples of the data you could be recording include:

  • Cost of employee turnover
  • Time to hire
  • Cost of training
  • Absenteeism
  • Employee productivity

All of the mentioned metrics and more are very insightful and should be categorised into past, current and future expectations for the best overview.

Wage Increase

An ongoing challenge for HR and one that will be ever present in 2015 is demand for higher wages. The threat of increased inflation and interest rates is sure to encourage the push for higher wages from every angle.

Due to the skill shortages in certain areas, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation have reported seeing an increase in salaries for new hires.

Action: What does this mean for HR? You must be prepared for this influx in an increase of starting wages and prepare a strategy to stay on top of this. However to retain current employees you must also create a strategic wage increase based on measurable merits and targets and share this across the board.


With many more opportunities for employees the last key challenge for HR is to become more innovative with rewards and benefits for staff. It is not enough to simply introduce a promotion and wage increase strategy, employees want more.

Action: Key Benefits worth exploring:

      1. Holiday pay

There have been recent high profile discussions regarding the introduction of commission and overtime being taken into account when granting employees’ holiday pay. Whilst this is still under review by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), it is definitely worthwhile considering this as an added benefit for employees.

      2. Shared parental leave

Changes come into effect on 5th April 2015 and will allow parents the option to share up to 52 weeks leave and 39 weeks’ pay. Start to prepare for this change and inform employees of these new alterations.

Go one step further and be creative with the benefits you can introduce into the business to differentiate from the rest of the market. It’s no longer enough to keep up with the competition, you need to go above and beyond.

By facing all of these key challenges head on and putting measurable actions into place, you will see your business reap the rewards and in turn position HR as delivering towards the company's bottom line and growth.


Written by Tom Mornement, Director of Purple House HR, a niche recruitment consultancy specialising in the placement of Human Resources professionals. If you’re looking for a new HR position, or need to hire an HR professional, then get in touch:

0117 957 4100


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