We’ve devoted a few discussions to how organizations can make better use of HR Shared Services (HRSS) and why they should. Today’s HRSS centers are more innovative, more technologically proficient, and far more interactive and knowledge-based than they have traditionally been perceived. These advancing capabilities make HRSS well-suited to support another vital area of HR: COEs (Communities of Expertise). With a few targeted steps up front to help facilitate the transfer, services traditionally handled in COEs can also be handled effectively and efficiently via HRSS. The goal is not to diminish or replace COEs, but to free their resources for more value-added activities.
Transaction-oriented HR operations—“hire to retire” activities—have become common candidates for transfer to an HRSS environment. But many organizations have been reluctant to transfer more knowledge-based activities residing in COEs, deeming them too specialized or not routinized enough to be handled well outside the COE. In our experience, this thinking can short-change the value both COEs and HRSS can bring to the organization. Careful evaluation can help determine which processes an HRSS organization can take on, giving the COE added bandwidth to continue to drive the strategic business agenda forward.
What to consider when moving processes from COEs to HRSS
Managing the transition
Transitioning more complex, specialized services requires some additional steps and critical connection points to first facilitate the transfer and then support “stickiness” of the work. These include:
Not a COE substitute; a value driver
Transferring work to HRSS is not meant to replace COEs. Truly specialized activities such as benefit plan design, program design, total rewards strategy, and compensation design, for example, are what COEs were created for and what they do well. In turn, the administrative aspects of these programs (vendor management, project management, analytics, and the like) are where HRSS can shine.
It’s this divide and conquer strategy of allocating responsibilities where they can be accomplished most effectively, and optimizing the related processes along the way, that ultimately adds value to the organization.
Vyas Anantharaman is a senior manager in the HR Transformation practice of Deloitte Consulting LLP, working with clients to help solve their complex HR and HR IT challenges.
Kelley Taylor is a specialist master at Deloitte Consulting LLP where she works with large, complex, global clients covering every phase of HR Transformation from strategy and design through implementation and post go-live support.
Diksha Dehal is a senior consultant in the HR Transformation practice at Deloitte Consulting LLP. Her client service work has focused on large global HR transformations with a lens on shared services and outsourcing in particular. Currently she is the national Chief of Staff for the practice.