Posted tagged ‘Europe’

HRO Confidence Remains Steady for 2012

May 10, 2012

Every quarter, my colleague Amy Gurchensky surveys HRO vendors for the NelsonHall HR Outsourcing Confidence Index (HROCI), which is then available for our clients and the participating service providers. In normal times, the HROCI does not change drastically from quarter to quarter; it more shows changes in trends over time. In uncertain times, however, it is a timely way to see changes in market perceptions even before disruptions occur in contract values, volumes, and revenues.

It is of some comfort that the HROCI is in a steady state of small changes from quarter to quarter. That is not a sign of upcoming exuberant growth, but it is a predictor that we will continue to see solid continuous HRO growth throughout 2012.

The most recent HROCI shows a vendor confidence level of 153, where 100 represents unchanged confidence and higher scores indicate increased confidence. While 153 is down a bit from 164 in 1Q 2011, it is in line with 3Q and 4Q 2011 at 151 and 147 respectively. Vendor confidence is often based on how current business is going, along with the pipeline. In HRO, growth from existing clients is just as important as new business. Ever since deals got smaller in scale and scope, there has been increased focus on retaining and growing existing accounts, and we see positive vendor confidence here as well.

Looking at some of the HR lines of service, payroll is once again in the leading position for growth, followed by RPO, multi-process HRO (MPHRO), benefit administration, and learning. MPHRO is expected to perform well in 2012, primarily driven by the need of organizations to standardize HR services across regions and geographies. Vendors such as ADP and NorthgateArinso that previously offered primarily payroll and employee administration services have been very active in acquiring or partnering to extend capabilities to a wider range of platform-based MPHRO functions. In addition, Logica is becoming increasingly successful in this space in Europe.

There is a slight tempering of growth expectations that can be seen in the data, although pipelines still seem solid. I think this is the same kind of hedge-your-bets thinking that is in the larger economy and what we are seeing from HRO buyers. Everyone still has a healthy sense of caution in case things suddenly go sideways.

Luckily, more and more HRO buyers and clients are willing to move ahead and get on with doing business, even if a bit cautiously. Other buyers still suffer from frozen decision-making and unwillingness to make long-term investments. Buyers with clear direction for what they want to achieve through HRO are the most likely to be deal ready – as along as prices are right and there is not too much upfront investment. The earlier service providers can assess readiness, the faster they will be able to fill pipelines with well-qualified prospects.

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

Interested in reading the latest HRO news from NelsonHall? Subscribe to our newsletter by emailing amy.gurchensky@nelson-hall.com with “HRO Insight” as the subject.

Flexible Benefits and HRO Add Choice for Employees and Options for Employers

May 2, 2012

Mercer’s What’s Working Survey found that one-third of European participants are seriously considering leaving their organization. This had me immediately questioning why. Does it have something to do with the employee’s benefits package? Probably not in the U.K. since 36% of respondents stated that their benefits package was the primary reason for staying at their organization.

In fact, 30% of survey participants in the U.K. said that their employer’s benefit package was the key reason for joining the company in the first place, up 5% since 2005. Across Europe including France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, and Italy, the average percent of employees that are content with their benefits package is 50%, representing a general decline over the last five years.

The survey shows what employees value varies by country, culture, and age. While surveyed European employees have many common interests, there is variation by country. Employees in France and Italy were the most dissatisfied over many of the employee value proposition elements studied including base pay, benefits, and development opportunities. In most cases, score varied. For example, employees in the Netherlands were less likely to intend to leave and were satisfied with their benefits, but were dissatisfied with employer assistance in retirement plans and base pay.

With pressure on all aspects of workforce costs, including benefits, what is an employer to do?  One option is to add a flexible benefits program to increase employee desired choice while still controlling costs. Program designs include one or both of the following:

  • Employer paid benefit “credits” that employees can use to select the choices most important to them
  • Employee paid benefits available through the employer, payable with payroll deductions and usually at better prices than available in the general market.

While flexible benefits schemes have been slow to take off, the continued adoption rate will have a positive effect on flexible benefits service providers since internal HR departments tend to lack the skills necessary to administer these benefit choices successfully. According to Mercer’s European Survey on Employee Choice in Benefits, flexible benefits programs generally meet employer objectives (63%) and are well-received by employees (71%).

Using HRO to administer the programs reduces administrative cost and complexity for employers.  The number of European organizations outsourcing their flexible benefit plan has increased. Specifically, Mercer’s survey found the following:

  • 36% of employers outsourced their entire flexible benefits program, up from 28% in 2009
  • 33% use a combination of in-sourcing and outsourcing for their flex program, up from 23%
  • 16% manage the flex offering in-house, down from 35%.

NelsonHall’s upcoming Targeting Benefits Administration market analysis report will indicate that growth opportunities for flexible benefits are very good as organizations look for an alternative to salary increases and bonuses while meeting the needs of increasingly diverse workforces.

Amy L. Gurchensky, Research Analyst, HRO, NelsonHall

Interested in reading the latest HRO news from NelsonHall? Subscribe to our newsletter by emailing amy.gurchensky@nelson-hall.com with “HRO Insight” as the subject.

First Year+ Strong for ACS, a Xerox Company

September 9, 2011

With a year and a half passing since Xerox acquired ACS, Xerox has appropriately defined its new tagline: “Services-Led, Technology-Driven” with revenues roughly split equally between its Services segment and its Technology segment. Of Xerox Services, BPO is leading, accounting for 55% of revenues. The remainder of its Services revenue is ITO (12%) and DO (32%).

Within BPO, its four segments are HR, F&A, customer care, and transaction processing. Focusing on HR specifically, ACS is doing well according to information shared at yesterday’s Industry Analyst Meeting in NYC.  In total, the company has secured 44 HR services deals in the past 18 months.  Its first HRO deal since the acquisition was closed was a 5 year H&W services contract with P&G in March 2010.  

Some recent HRO highlights include signing a long-term TBO contract with a wireless telecommunications company, winning its largest ever learning services contract with a pharmaceutical company, and leveraging the ACS and Xerox relationship to win a multi-process HR outsourcing (MPHRO) contract from a competitor. 

Serving more than 11m employees and retirees worldwide, the company is focused on “consumer-driven solutions” or viewing the client employee as the end-consumer.  Part of this initiative includes its client collaboration group, FutureThink, which began piloting last year and has recently expanded. 

Its plans for geographic expansion are ripening.  The company has made great progress with its first target, Europe, with revenues increasing 10% and pipeline growth up more than 100%.  Approximately 90% of this pipeline improvement is the result of Xerox synergy.  Another positive is a recent MPHRO win from this region. 

Aside from Europe, ACS is targeting Latin America, specifically Brazil and Mexico, and Asia.  In Latin America, the company has a good market presence due to its acquisition of ExcellerateHRO last year. 

Additional acquisitions and partnerships can’t be ruled out either, especially for building out service capabilities.  Finally, to support all this growth, ACS has made investments in CRM, expanding its India and Malaysia centers.

Eighteen months since the acquisition has closed, Xerox has demonstrated a successful integration of ACS and signs are pointing to a positive future for HR services.

Amy L. Gurchensky, Research Analyst, HRO, NelsonHall

Global Growth Requires Global Mobility and Global HRO

June 1, 2011

No country is an island, even if some are surrounded by water. Each country, its employers and workforces are part of a globally intertwined macro economy and an employer in any one country can be competing for sales and talent with competitors from around the world.

Global growth requires developing global workforces to: increase a middle class of consumers; develop in-country sales, service, and/or production employees; and take advantage of right-shoring labor pools. Employers also need to access skilled talent in short supply in-country and yet importing talent can find an employer caught up in the turmoil of political as well as logistical issues.

The EU can be especially difficult to navigate. According to a new Accenture study issued at the European Business Summit 2011, “Europe in Tomorrow’s World,” one issue Europe needs to address to get back on track for future growth is the graying of the workforce and how to both develop and access more skilled labor.

As reported by Worldwide ERC, many EU countries are already wading in the waters of culture and immigration and are either considering or taking action to improve opportunities to augment local workforces:

  • Sweden reduced its “Experts Tax” by 25% to attract more highly skilled expats, especially in the areas of science, research, and engineering;
  • Austria opened its doors to workers from the eight Eastern European EU countries to bring in both highly-skilled and lower-skilled workers for industries such as construction and food service because of its aging population;
  • Denmark’s major businesses called for relaxed immigration policies because six of the country’s ten largest businesses say they need to attract foreign employees within the next three years, and most businesses believe that current immigration policy is preventing them from hiring the foreign employees they need.

There are many ways for HRO service providers to assist in globalizing workforces including:

  • RPO: Top-tier RPO providers continue to expand coverage into more and more countries.  RPO vendors can also help navigate the work visa process in-country.
  • Mobility: Expat assignments are a key tool to developing global leaders, one that must be carefully managed due to cost and complexity. Who better to assist than a workforce mobility expert?
  • HR systems and payroll: Managing a multi-country workforce requires timely and accurate data and that is hard to come by without access to a top-notch employee data and reporting system. Services and systems are available from HRO payroll and multi-process HRO providers.
  • Consulting: Before acting, a global workforce strategy and polices are needed to guide expansion. A HRO provider with an industry leading reputation in HR consulting can provide you with a one stop resource for transformation planning, implementation, and change management as well as operations.

Whether your company is a major MNC entering into new markets or a mid-sized company expanding into just one additional country, a resource skilled in the dynamics, logistics, and legalities of global workforce growth can be invaluable — check out your friendly HRO global community.

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall