Human resources leaders are feeling overburdened by new expectations that they build a workplace brand and are increasingly looking to outsource their tasks as a result, according to a new study from ADP Canada.

As the traditional role of human resources (HR) managers grows beyond simply fulfilling payroll and organizing group benefits to include attracting the right talent and keeping employees productive, 72 per cent of HR pros strongly agreed that they’re being asked to handle an increased workload. ADP commissioned Environics to survey 100 HR decision makers in Canadian companies that had at least 50 employees. The survey results are accurate within 9.8 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

The HR role just isn’t what it used to be, according to Virginia Brailey, vice-president of marketing and strategy for ADP Canada.

“There’s just different requirements,” she says. “From a flexibility position, HR leaders need to have the right organizational brand to attract that talent and keep them satisfied.”

Only four in 10 HR leaders surveyed felt their company was well-equipped to adapt quickly to the changing needs of the workforce. Namely, the incoming tsunami of millennials into the working world Just last year saw millennials become the single largest demographic in Canada’s workforce, according to Statistics Canada, while baby boomers are retiring and leaving it in droves.

To cope with that change, HR leaders are turning to outsourcing and new technology tools. According to analyst firm IDC, HR spending on outsourcing services will grow to $2.4 billion by 2016. ADP offers Workforce Now comprehensive services, a combination of software and service experts that can offload in-house HR tasks.

The idea is to help HR leaders focus on strategic goals rather than get bogged down in day-to-day tasks, Brailey says.

“They shouldn’t be entering data into different systems,” she says. “They should avoid having questions asked of them’ they should have partners that help with that.”

Instead, those HR leaders can focus on strategic issues like succession planning – an important that need some attention, considering the survey results. Just one-third agreed that their company has strong succession planning and leadership development.

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