HR Structure to Change in Service Delivery, Towers Watson Survey Predicts
The Towers Watson survey finds that "shared services" has emerged as the most valued and prevalent process for delivering HR services to organizations, and investment in HR technology is expected to remain strong and steady this year.
According to the survey, close to half (44 percent) of the 628 global organizations surveyed indicated they will change their HR structure either this year or next year. Towers Watson says it is a sharp increase from the 28 percent of respondents who planned to change their HR structure last year. When asked what is driving these changes, nearly two-thirds of those planning changes said they want to realize further efficiencies, while roughly one-half are seeking to capture synergies among processes and investments, improve quality and lower costs.
"After several years of relative stability in the HR function, the way HR services are delivered is changing," says Towers Watson spokesman Tom Keebler. "Technological advances are pushing organizations to take advantage of much that the constantly changing technology and delivery landscape has to offer. Further, HR is pushing change by either growing into or being led to a more savvy approach. The bottom line is that HR is changing, with an eye toward delivering services more effectively and efficiently."
The survey shows that among companies making changes to their HR function, nearly four in 10 (39 percent) will move or revert to a shared services environment, while nearly one in three (31 percent) will bring additional services into an existing shared services organization. And just over one-fourth (26 percent) will outsource some or additional HR functions.
The survey finds that more than one-half of organizations (53 percent) indicated their investment in HR technology this year will match last year's investment levels, while close to one-third (31 percent) will either increase or significantly increase their HR technology investments. Only 16 percent expect to spend less on HR technology this year.
Among those organizations planning to increase their investment in HR technology this year, just under four in ten (38 percent) plan to deploy additional functionality from existing vendors, while another 36 percent plan to upgrade or re-implement their existing HRMS. Meantime, one-third (34 percent) plan to expand their existing self-service offerings and replace older systems (33 percent), Towers Watson says.
Other key findings from the survey include: Talent and performance management systems remain the primary HR service delivery issue this year, with 40 percent of respondents citing these as one of their top three priorities. Streamlining business processes, recruiting and staffing systems, and greater involvement in strategic business-driven issues were cited by 22 percent as top service delivery issues.
Six out of 10 organizations (60 percent) offer an HR portal to HR and employees. Another 20 percent are in the process of developing an HR portal.
A single HR function for the entire organization remains the predominant model, especially in single-country organizations (72 percent), as opposed to global ones (32 percent).