HR Struggles with Move to Strategic Functions

December 14, 2005 ( - A Hewitt Associates study has found that, while many companies are beginning to realize the strategic benefit of outsourcing, some HR departments are still struggling to move the function from being primarily administrative to one that performs value-added activities and provides organizations with strategic support.

According to a Hewitt press release, the study identified the five factors that make it difficult for HR to transform itself completely into a strategic business partner:

  • Unclear vision,
  • Poor change management,
  • Inefficient HR delivery,
  • The right people doing the wrong work, and
  • Sub-optimal use of HR technology.

Iain Slater, head of HR effectiveness at Hewitt, said in the release,“The real innovators in HR know how to overcome these pitfalls – sustaining change to achieve transformation and selling that vision to the business and their own HR department. They are also ensuring that the resources and the plans are in place so that these changes can succeed.”

The study listed primary goals for HR departments. They are:

  • streamline their HR processes,
  • provide good customer service to employees,
  • make effective use of technology, and
  • shift more resources to performing value-added activities.

Hewitt found that leading companies have significantly reduced the time spent on program administration and customer service from 43% to 30%, freeing up resources for more strategic support of the business.

“HR departments should consider possibilities such as shared service centers, investing in HR technology, employee self-service and outsourcing various functions,” according to Slater.

For a full copy of the study, contact .