Posted tagged ‘HRO Maturity Continuum’

HRO, Shared Services Centers and the HR COO

June 17, 2011

Oh the things you can find when you wander the Web. One link leads to another and you can find shiny new ideas that catch your eye. Wandering may be a sign of a short attention span, I prefer to considerate it part of having an open mind searching for relevance. My latest Web find is Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends 2011 study.

HR is challenged to meet a myriad of needs and provide ever more value within constrained resources. Cost remains a top priority and business leaders also want HR to be less tactical and more strategic. The HR tactical work must get done to keep the organization running and HR regulatory compliance issues grow ever more complex, necessitating even more tactical tracking and reporting requirements.

In response, HR shared service centers (HRSSC) have emerged in larger organizations, especially multinationals, driven by the need for cost reduction and the efficiency and compliance benefits of better integrated systems and consistent processes.  Outsourcing some of the shared service processes and/or technology support is also a typical part of HRSSCs.

The HRO community touts the benefits of cost optimization, improved processes, improved compliance and reporting, meeting SLAs, and high user satisfaction. By role and nature, vendors focus on the performance of the areas of their own accountability. Therefore, if only a portion of the HRSSC’s processes are outsourced and multiple vendors are involved, it is a challenge to ensure that overall HR delivery services are effective, efficient, and cost-controlled.

One “revolutionary” trend for HR from the Deloitte study is the need for a HR Chief Operating Officer (COO) to focus on the design, development, implementation, and delivery of HR services. This leader needs to be a great organizational, process, and systems designer and manager. I would also add the HR COO needs to be able to determine from a capability and cost perspective where outsourcing is the most viable option and how to integrate HRO into the overall operation.

It is important to not get lost in the tactical aspects of shared services. The HR COO should be a strategic leader, well-versed in both HR and the business. Adding in the art of building and selling business cases, including capabilities in communications, networking, and even marketing would add value.

Tracking cost and process efficiency are necessary parts of managing an HRSSC. So is collaborating with HR generalists and business leaders to create results and provide data-based information for workforce decision making. Promoting HR and the value of the HRSSC is also important – deliver, create awareness, and buy-in for the next cycle of improvement!

Buyers – the HRSSC leader can be a key partner in both operations and strategic HR transformation, invest and select wisely.

HRO vendors – the state of HRSSC leadership, capabilities, vision, and current operation is a component of the HRO Maturity Continuum.

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall

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