Is there an engagement crisis in the HR profession?

Is there an engagement crisis in the HR profession?

Publish Date: 2024-03-06

Author: Victoria Bond

The Ten Space 'Big HR Engagement Survey' has now closed and the results are in! Over the last few months, we've been gathering insight from hundreds of in-house HR professionals and we're going to give you a sneak-peak of our findings.

The purpose of the survey was to gauge the level of engagement within the HR profession and the industry as a whole. We aimed to uncover the factors that drive HR professionals, understand the challenges they face and explore the opportunities that lie ahead.

This article is a small window into our extensive research, focusing on one particular aspect that emerged as a significant finding. 

How engaged are those who are often responsible for engaging others?


HR’s Engagement Levels

💡 We asked our respondents how their engagement had changed over the previous 12 months. Over 37% (the largest population), said that their engagement was lower than in the previous 12 months. 



Gallup's recent State of the Global Workplace report revealed that employee engagement is rising worldwide. While the overall engagement picture may be improving, there are pockets of concern or opportunity that may require targeted interventions. There could still be specific areas within organisations, such as HR leadership, that need more attention and focus to ensure sustained engagement and positive outcomes. 

Why does the HR profession appear to be going against the positive trend of increasing engagement?

💡 Over 65% of those we asked said that they had considered leaving their current organisation in the last 12 months. Indicating that your HR team is far from being locked into their current organisation. 



One-fifth of UK workers are feeling burned out, leading 70% of workers to seek a new job in 2024. There is a trend in both the general workforce and specifically HR teams which suggests a high level risk and potential turnover among key employees.


HR’s Frustrations

💡 Dropping engagement was particularly an issue for those who had been in the profession between 3 and 5 years - with over 50% of them saying they were less engaged now than in the previous 12 months.



So what’s driving the downward trend? What are the frustrations? As part of the survey, we asked what has had the most negative impact on your engagement recently. The answer? Leaders! 

Through comments made in the survey, we got a good feel for what the concerns and frustrations are with leaders and their relationships with HR. 



One HR Professional told us 

“It is a great profession, but has become less enjoyable in recent years. It would be great to have more support for HR, as we are always there for everyone else.”

A common frustration is the lack of buy-in and understanding from leaders, who often fail to listen to their HR counterparts. This lack of receptiveness is compounded by the presence of “incompetent leaders” and “toxic leadership” within the organisation. The absence of clear direction from leadership has left HR teams feeling adrift and unable to manage their own teams effectively. The “egos” of the leadership team further exacerbate these issues, creating a hostile environment that is detrimental to employee engagement and HR engagement.

But it isn’t all doom and gloom! The majority of HR professionals that we asked said that they weren’t considering leaving the profession altogether. 

💡 Over 80% of them said that they saw HR as their long-term career path. And over 70% of those that we asked, said that they’d recommend HR as a career to others who were considering it. 



What should we do?

So what is the conclusion? It seems that HR professionals love the profession, but don’t always love the organisation that they are a part of. 



As one HR professional said 

“Sometimes the only way to change, is to change - don't fight what you can't impact, the business HAS to recognise the want and need to change, if they don't - you change.”

Particularly in mid-career, around the HR Manager / HR Business partner level, it seems that other leaders in the organisation have a huge impact on engagement levels and create frustration and disengagement within HR teams.

HR leaders reading this may want to take a closer look at their teams and wrap their arms around those at the coal face if they want to retain them in their teams. 


Dive deeper into the stats

We're thrilled to announce The Big HR Engagement Research Report is nearing completion. This comprehensive report is packed with valuable insights from hundreds of in-house HR professionals. 

From uncovering the factors that drive passion and commitment to understanding the challenges they face, this research is set to be a game-changer. Stay tuned for the full report, where we'll delve into the data and provide actionable strategies to enhance HR engagement. 

Make sure to sign up to be one of the first to get the full report - whether you took part in the survey or not. 

Share this article

Recommended reading

Organisational Structures - Where do you fit?
Organisational Structures - Where do you fit?
4 Strategies for Improving Employee Experience
4 Strategies for Improving Employee Experience
The Role of Leadership in Employee Experience
The Role of Leadership in Employee Experience
Sign up for a monthly employee engagement round up