By Matt Roddan

New findings from global market research firm ORC International show today’s HR professionals in the United States face major challenges in the areas of bridging skill gaps, engaging millennials, and spurring innovation in the workplace.

The figures are from the company’s global HR Reflections survey, which received over 1,000 responses from HR professionals across 20 different sectors and 27 countries.

The survey found economic outlook in the United States to be increasingly positive compared to 2012, with 60% of organizations focusing on growth and 89% reporting that they will maintain or increase staffing levels in the next 12 months.

Seventy-eight percent of U.S. HR professionals believe there is a skills gap within their organization, with most relying on informal feedback from managers, employees, or customers to identify such gaps. The informal nature of this feedback presents a risk that training and development activity is not focusing on the competencies an organization really needs for its future success. Only 18% use formal research or gap analysis to identify these needs.

HR professionals seem particularly challenged by engaging millennials (18- to 30-year-olds), with 86% seeing them as different from previous generations. HR professionals believe millennials are disloyal, and 80% think that they want to learn all they can from their employer and then move on.

However, millennials tell us a very different story. Research from ORC International reveals 63% of millennials want to develop a long-term career at a company. However, they are less risk averse and will move on if they feel they are not given opportunities to develop and get ahead. Just 34% of U.S. millennials said they intended to be working for their company in 12 months’ time. Keep an eye out for new findings from the global millennials research due out next month.

Innovation is also high on organizations’ wish lists: 59% cite it as critical to remain competitive, but not all have the time (52%) or budget (50%) to dedicate to it.

Matt Roddan, Director of Employee Research US at ORC International, said: “The concept of an idea-driven workforce has many benefits. Companies which encourage innovation have not only identified new ways to cut costs, improve service and expand products, they have also engaged and motivated their employees in the process. Millennials respond particularly well to a more creative environment which values their ideas.”

To read the full report on HR Reflections, click here.

About ORC International
ORC International is a leading global research firm with offices across the United States, Europe, and Asia Pacific. The company’s combination of cutting-edge technology, skilled researchers, and in-depth industry experience provides clients with the insight to help solve their most pressing business challenges. Specifically, the company has more than 25 years of employee research experience and manages some of the largest employee-related research surveys worldwide, interviewing over one million employees in 2013 already.

ORC International also offers a range of reporting tools to its customers to ensure stakeholders are engaged and that results are communicated effectively. These include: accesspoint, a dedicated project management portal; highlights, a dynamic reporting tool; tabtool, a portal allowing clients to take control and interrogate their own data; comments, a program that filters open comments and extracts specific qualitative feedback; and  action, a tool used to help create, monitor, and evaluate action plans. To learn more about ORC International, visit www.ORCInternational.com.

Matt Roddan

About the Author
Matt Roddan is the head of the U.S. Employee Research division of ORC International, and is experienced in running large-scale employee research and consultancy programs for a wide range of organizations. He is based in the New York office and has worked in employee research for over 10 years. He incorporates project design, direction, delivery, and consultancy, leading projects with clients including Grant Thornton, Walmart, Scripps Networks Interactive, Goodyear, Starbucks, Sodexo, Wind River, AutoZone, Packaging Corporation of America, Sims Metal Management, Kansas City Power & Light, Latham & Watkins, and many more. His focus is on helping clients to get the most from their employee research projects through smart analytics, interpretation, presentation, and demonstrating the return on investment. Matt holds a first class BSc (Honors) in psychology and computing science from the University of Glasgow.