How accurate are your perceptions of HRSS?
Posted by Greg Vert on March 16, 2016
If you still think of HR Shared Services (HRSS) organizations as little more than call centers and data entry hubs, it may be time to reset your perceptions—and your expectations. HRSS is continuously evolving to meet a new set of demands from the businesses it supports. To meet these demands, the modern HRSS operates more like a commercial business—focused on cost control, value creation, and customer service all at once.
For many years, companies have used HRSS organizations to handle highly transactional services like HR data administration and basic employee inquiry resolution. These administrative activities are still part of the scope for many HRSS organizations, but they are increasingly supplemented by a range of interactive and knowledge-based services. HRSS organizations are also becoming more operationally focused, emphasizing service and process excellence with a continuous improvement mindset, rather than simply driving transactional volume and other “throughput” metrics.
Not convinced? Don’t believe the hype? Let’s debunk a few of the common myths about HRSS.
Myth 1: HRSS is all about cost savings and reducing HR headcount
HRSS implementations have traditionally started out with a detailed business case to estimate the return on investment generated by transitioning to a new model. The output of the analysis was often translated into financial targets and benchmarked ratios of HR staff to employees. While cost-effectiveness is still a goal, more companies today are focused on the value HRSS can deliver and the potential for intangible benefits aligned with overall business strategies to extend beyond the hard-dollar savings. Here are a few examples:
Myth 2: HRSS organizations employ a low-skill workforce
HRSS is increasing scope to add more advanced and complex activities. According to Deloitte’s 2015 Global Shared Services Survey, 81 percent of organizations surveyed are planning to expand by adding knowledge-based services. Supporting and leading these enhanced services requires a different set of capabilities, such as a high degree of business acumen and operational understanding not often associated with traditional HRSS roles. These new talent requirements could make HRSS an important development ground or career destination for HR professionals. Here are a couple of the new capabilities for a modern HRSS organization:
Myth 3: HRSS organizations sacrifice personalized customer experience
Many organizations are concerned about losing the personal touch associated with receiving services from on-site HR representation. However, moving to the HRSS model can provide more opportunities to deliver a consistent set of services through multiple channels (phone, online, chat) to allow the customer to decide how to interact with HR. Online channels can provide 24/7 access to services and are often expected by employees accustomed to web-based interactions outside the workplace.
The HRSS model also promotes consistency by centralizing the knowledge and content needed to address different types of employee needs and managing operations against pre-defined SLAs. As a result of the governance and discipline of HRSS, many organizations experience improved response time, quality, and overall customer satisfaction.
Myth 4: HRSS is dependent on implementing an enterprise core HR technology
HR transformation has historically started by first building a technology infrastructure (traditionally ERP-based) and then developing the service delivery model to support it. The cloud-based options and systems of engagement available in the market today make it possible to jump-start the journey toward HRSS without having a single, unified HCM platform as the foundation. These front-end tools are designed to provide an intuitive and consistent user experience by sitting on top of multiple back-end systems, which are a common reality of the modern business landscape, especially for large enterprises. While standardization and harmonization of HR processes are still required, these top-layer tools make it possible to have a consistent service delivery model supported by HRSS without having a single system behind the scenes.
The HRSS evolution continues to break down traditional perceptions of the model. As a result, many organizations are now unlocking new opportunities for HRSS to add more value and improve customer service levels. Don’t let old misconceptions prevent your organization from capitalizing on the latest trends and innovations.
Greg Vert is a manager in the HR Transformation practice of Deloitte Consulting LLP. He works with his clients to improve overall HR service delivery through the design and implementation of leading practice HR processes, shared services, and enabling technologies.