Organisations to change HR structure in 2013-14, says research


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More than one in three (36%) companies plan to make a change to their HR structure before the end of next year, a survey from professional services consultancy Towers Watson has shown.

The 2013 HR Service Delivery and Technology Survey, a global survey of more than 1,000 companies, found 74% of organisations planning to restructure their HR departments hope to gain operational efficiencies. Just over half (53%) are doing so to improve quality, 37% to cut costs and 34% as part of an overall business strategy.

Nearly half (49%) of organisations changing their structures plan to move to a shared services environment, with centres of excellence and HR business partners. In comparison, 17% intend to outsource more and only 12% plan to move to a single HR function for the whole organisation.

The survey found that streamlining business processes is the number one HR delivery issue globally.

“Companies have been carefully examining both their HR structures and the way HR services are being delivered, and many have come to the same conclusion: the time is ripe for change,” said Andrew Steels, EMEA leader of Towers Watson’s HR service delivery practice. “Many organisations see new opportunities to increase HR’s strategic contributions to the business.”

Technology spending steady

According to the survey, organisations’ spending on HR technology remains strong, despite cost reductions in other areas. More than half (53%) of respondents said their investment in HR technology would match last year, and 27% plan to increase spending.

Mobile technology is also becoming more prevalent in HR. More than 60% of respondents provide smartphones to employees, and 24% offer tablets. 

However, only one in 10 organisations uses apps for HR purposes. This is expected to increase, with 25% planning to rollout HR apps in the next 12-18 months. 

“HR service delivery is in a state of change and organisations need to embrace that change as the new constant,” said Steels. “They can change the game by modifying their structure, rethinking long-held processes, adopting new HR technologies and processes, and extending capabilities to the organisation via manager self-service and shared services.” 

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