HR must leave 'comfort zone' of transactional work, says Atos HRD

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HR directors should negotiate for their teams to cut down on administrative tasks and re-focus on strategic goals, according to Atos HR services delivery director Martin Riley.

Speaking at software provider Transversal's HR Service Conference, Riley said many HR professionals are happy to spend the majority of time doing transactional work because "that is their comfort zone".

Figures released by Atos reveal that 34% of HR functions’ time is spent on transactional work. Riley says that to get this down HR directors need to have meaningful conversations with senior leadership. 

“A bargain needs to be struck where we say, if you are able to do more self-service, so don’t have as much administrative burden, these are the extra things we can do for you,” he said. “HR has to help itself to break the culture of dependence the business can have on it for day-to-day tasks.”

Riley added that he accepts strategic work can be hard to fit in around more imminent deadlines. 

“If you have an HR business partner who has to help with a new hire, they are under pressure from the business to deliver that straight away,” he said. “This is party down to the business, but also HR professionals need to help themselves and be sure that they want to move to the strategic work.”

Riley said that some of the old capabilities seen in HR teams are no longer relevant today, and that HR directors may have to “make hard decisions” when looking at the skills of their teams going forward.  

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