A consistent HR approach the key to shared service model

Having a consistent approach to the HR function, often across different continents, is crucial to making a shared services model work effectively.

Speaking at HR magazine's dinner debate on the future of shared services, InterContinental Hotels Group VP for organisational development Faye Frater said the nature of her business meant all areas must work closely together to succeed.

"Sometimes the people we're dealing with aren't even our employees, global mergers can bring big HR challenges," she said. "It's vital then to have a consistent HR approach among systems and teams. The service centre is run from India, so if we don't keep a close eye on our HR global brand it could cause us real problems."


Amey group HR director Valerie Hughes-D'Aeth highlighted the need for HR to be fully integrated into the business, especially with shared services being more common. "It's vitally important that it's not just seen as 'us' and 'them'," she said. "HR needs to be seen as one and as part of the business as a whole."

Deloitte director John Baddeley argued that the implementation, rather than the structure of shared services, was what concerned the business. "As long as people are getting a good service, however it's delivered, they will be happy," he said. 

Tim Hood, senior account exceutive of EMEA at event sponsor Perceptive Software, said HR services could be moved to a shared service centre via a "lift and shift". He added he didn't believe this would lead to a decrease in the quality of the support given to the business. 

However, FNZ group chief HR officer Daniel Kasmir had reservations about of the effectiveness of a shared service model for delivering the service the businesses were accustomed to.

"There's a concern about depersonalising HR," he said. "It can lead to people being disengaged. People are used to having their HR people close at hand." 

Also present at the event in London were Vodafone global HR director Bernd Flossbach and Brighton and Sussex University hospitals NHS Trust HR director Graham White. 

The HR dinner debate will be available to view online in the coming weeks.