What’s New Again in HRO for 2013

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Even though predictions are a perennial New Year activity, the truth is that most trends play out over many years. Most HRO “predictions” are more like annual status checks and updates.

Transformation is new again

Several aspects of our old friend, HR transformation, are back on the table for 2013:

  • Operations transformation: new, upgraded, standardized, and integrated HR tools, systems, and processes
  • Strategic transformation: increases in overall HR performance that improve business performance
  • Accelerated transformation: the cycle of transition, standardization, and improvement needs to move at a faster pace than ever; which provider can help you get where you want to go with a track record of getting there faster?

A return to transformation fits with our NelsonHall 2013 HRO trend of value balancing cost and pent up demand for improved operations.

Even with more client and vendor maturity this go-around, we need to ensure that strategic HR transformation goes hand-in-hand with the evolution of the retained staff, HR generalists, and service delivery operations. One can either leverage and empower the other or hold back real progress in both.

Evolution and the use of new HR technologies  

Rapid technology advancement continues across all HRO services and within in each service line, providing a great opportunity for HRO buyers and a challenge for HRO service providers.

  • Easy access: mobility, bring-your-own-device, and cloud-based SaaS impacts every business including HR BPO. Increasingly, not only clients, but end users are expecting the same types of access and functionality from HR as they experience elsewhere.
    • HRO providers with modern platforms can bring these technologies to clients and their employees faster and at less overall cost
    • Service provider investments and the rapid pace of introduction add cost and stress to release cycles for services rapidly becoming table stakes which could pressure margins.
  • Emerging technologies: social media and analytics are new transformation tools, potentially powerful ways to improve performance of HR services and produce business results.
    • RPO leads in integrating the use of social media in recruiting, which helps RPO become a value play in the war for talent. This is a win-win: improved recruiting for clients and fuel for growth for vendors
    • Leading vendors with an active client community including early adopters will be able to create and test new and effective ways to leverage the new technologies that then can be added to service offerings. Learning vendors are already experimenting with effectively incorporating social media and gamification
    • Investments in leading-edge technologies that have not yet found breakthrough acceptance require a long view of growth and profitability, a risk that not all service providers are willing or able to take on.

From the most basic cost-reducing transactions to advanced partnerships in HR transformation, the full and growing range of HRO services has something for every organization in 2013.

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