COVID Has Changed Role of HR But Canadians Still Unsure of Their Role

Many Canadians are still unsure about the role of HR, yet know that their jobs are in transition.

A new study from ADP Canada and Maru/Blue found that over one-third of working Canadians surveyed have no idea what HR does all day long. While over half of respondents recognize the role of their HR team has become more difficult during the pandemic.

The survey, which compared insights from both working Canadians and Canadian HR professionals, also found, not surprisingly, that 61% of HR professionals believe their role has become more difficult during the pandemic.

“HR’s role has become increasingly challenging over the last several months, yet a lack of understanding and awareness of the important role of HR persists in Canada. The role of HR professionals is so much more than just recruitment and payroll – HR is critical to building a positive workplace culture, maintaining employee engagement, and to the success of every organization,” says Heather Haslam, Vice President, Marketing at ADP Canada.

According to HR professionals, new challenges caused by COVID-19 include protecting the health and wellbeing of employees, ensuring business continuity and staying on top of rapid policy changes. Over half of HR professionals surveyed also cite supporting the transition to remote work and supporting employee mental health as significant challenges. Given these new challenges, 43% of HR professionals feel the role of HR has changed because of COVID-19.

Although most Canadians believe the primary functions of HR include recruitment and hiring, overseeing payroll and benefits and planning for long-term staffing, less than half recognize responsibilities like conducting performance evaluations and creating workplace policies, training new and current employees, providing recognition for performance or scheduling fall under HR’s authority. Bearing this in mind, it’s not surprising that 48% of Canadians do not know how their workplace would be impacted if HR were to leave suddenly. For this survey, a sample of 1,538 Canadian employees (full time or part time), aged 18+, who work for a company with an HR professional / HR department was completed online using Maru/Blue’s online panel, including 301 self-defined HR professionals.

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Joel Kranc
Joel Kranc
Joel is the Deputy Editor of Your Workplace magazine
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