Recruitment and selection are the main performance indicators for HR departments in Belgium

The main priorities of Belgian human resources departments are still leadership development, recruitment & selection and talent management. This is evident from the third successive annual HR Barometer study by the HR consultancy firm Hudson and Vlerick Business school. This year, the HR Barometer study examined the impact of Belgian personnel policy on the organisation in greater depth. Alongside employee involvement and absenteeism, recruitment and selection are still the main indicators by which HR is judged. However, HR directors themselves would also prefer change management and training & development to be taken into account.

HR analytics and diversity continue to rank low on the list of HR priorities. This year, it is striking that confidence in the economy is growing and that HR managers increasingly wish to focus on preparation for growth.

A big impact, but even bigger challenges

No less than 94% of the respondents have an HR manager on the management team, giving them the required say in policy matters. It is striking that while HR managers are heavily involved in business strategy, they are less involved in its implementation. This is because the main task of HR is to ensure that the right attitudes and behaviour are present in the organisation. It also plays an important role in establishing connections, building coalitions and seeking compromises. Most HR managers would like to see change management featured on the agenda as a major opportunity. However, in practice, the performance of HR is generally judged by the success of recruitment and selection.

Shift in priorities required

Another striking observation is the fact that while most companies are keen to prepare for the anticipated economic growth and accompanying changes within company culture, they often do not (yet) have a clear action plan. We have also noticed that companies tend to prioritise talent management when the company's profit takes centre stage, but that significantly less attention is paid to this aspect when the focus is placed on keeping operating expenses down. Financial results and company objectives are prioritised in the HR policy.

Trends of 2016 retained

Other than that, there has been little change in previously identified trends. The recruitment of older, foreign and disabled employees – despite public concerns – still does not seem to be a goal in itself for HR departments. In addition, little use is made of HR analytics, which would make it possible to map out the organisation's policies strategically. Leadership development – the topic which was examined in detail in 2016 – continues to do well and the surveyed HR managers themselves feel that they score highly and are developing sufficient initiatives in this area.

About the HR Barometer

The HR Barometer is a study which grew out of the close collaboration between HR consultancy firm Hudson and Vlerick Business School. Ellen Volckaert, a manager at the Hudson Research & Development department and Professor Dirk Buyens, Head of the HRM Centre at Vlerick Business School, joined forces to write this report. In order to do so, they consulted the HR managers at the Bel 20 companies and the 200 largest Belgian companies in terms of the number of employees. 55 organisations took part in the study, representing a total of around 250,000 Belgian employees.

About Hudson
All over the world, but also close to home, Hudson connects, advises and supports organisations and their employees in order to ensure mutual success. Our specialist solutions for permanent recruitment, interim management and talent management help to get the most out of your staff by guaranteeing added value and improved productivity in every phase of the HR lifecycle. In Belgium, Hudson started out in 1982 as De Witte & Morel – the partner for organisations wishing to recruit and develop top professionals. In 2008, De Witte & Morel officially became Hudson.

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