Shared HR services are not sweat shops

first_img Previous Article Next Article HR shared services is a term that we’ve used for years in the HR function.It became common parlance when leading HR management thinker Dave Ulrichstarted to take our money at conferences by persuading us that a ‘3 box model’of strategic business partners, expert services and shared services is the onlyanswer. Most organisations have begun the move towards this model of HR as businesspartners, some have developed global experts in areas such as compensation oremployment law, and others have either outsourced or tried to create their ownshared services. Without doubt, any efficient and effective HR shared services operation hasto understand what it offers customers, has to design its processes to beefficient and continually improve them, has to match its organisation structureto these processes, and has to utilise an appropriate level of automation. This inevitably forces HR to centralise transactional and administrativeactivities and co-locate employees. However, transferring employees andactivities into one building does not mean you are creating a call centre. Weall have an idea of what a call centre looks like: warehouse accommodation andcubicles to hide the constant chatter or the hum of white-noise used to mufflethe sound of the operators. But is this really what centralised HR looks like? Not at all. I’ve recentlybeen involved in co-locating 250 HR employees to a new purpose-built sharedfacility in Preston, Lancashire, as part of an outsourcing deal of 500employees. And it’s a service centre not a call centre. When we first told employees of the plans, there were concerns. The thoughtof moving and above all to be forced to move into what they perceived as a‘call centre’ was a step too far. And yet six months later employeesatisfaction is at an all time high. This is because it soon became obvious that – having organised a number ofearly viewings of the facility for employees – the purpose-built centre wouldoffer light, bright and high-tech accommodation. It was better than the normalsecond-rate offices and portakabins that many of our HR employees had been usedto. In addition, and probably more importantly for me, only one team of lessthan 20 employees work in the customer support team, staffing the phones. Theyhandle a customer base of more than 50,000 employees and aim to handle 80 percent of enquiries. The remaining employees are in project and process teams, ITand portal development, finance, HR procurement, pensions, administration, anddo on. This is not a call centre, and I suggest that such preconceptions should bereserved for telephone banking or Holiday booking operations – not for the HRfunction. By Alan Bailey, Head of communications and change management, Xchanging Related posts:No related photos. Shared HR services are not sweat shopsOn 12 Nov 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. last_img