Today’s HR professionals in the U.S. face major challenges in the areas of bridging skill gaps, engaging Millennials and spurring innovation in the workplace. A new survey found economic outlook in the U.S. 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. Office

78% 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 (18-30 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.

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 U.S. 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.”

[Source:  “Millennials, innovation, and skill gaps pose greatest challenges for HR professionals.”  17 Oct. 2013.  Web.  24 Oct. 2013.  ORC International.]