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Jamie Lawrence


Insights Director

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Changes on the horizon for HR structures and service delivery


The HR function will experience upheaval in the next two years as businesses face pressure to improve the delivery and effectiveness of HR services.

This is according to the 2013 HR Service Delivery and Technology Survey from professional services firm Towers Watson, which also found that companies will continue to invest in HR technologies as well as analyse and change their HR processes.

One in three respondents (36%) will make a change to their HR structure before the end of the year, of which three-quarters (74%) will do so to increase operational efficiencies and 53% to improve quality. A further 37% are seeking to achieve cost savings, while 34% want to pursue a change in business strategy.

Interestingly, organisations making changes to their HR structures are favouring shared services – 49% are moving towards shared service environments with HR centres of excellence and HR business partners. The shared service model was identified by the survey as the most popular option, followed by intent to outsource additional functions (17%) and moving to a single HR function for the entire organisation (12%).

HR technology spend is holding steady – 53% of organisations said their investment in HR technology this year will match last year’s investment, while 27% will increase or significantly increase their investment in HR technology.

Six out of ten (59%) organisations offer an HR portal to employees, while 19% are in the process of developing a portal.

Streamlining business processes ranked as the primary HR service delivery issue, cited by 32% of respondents, followed by talent and performance management systems and greater involvement in business strategy (both 29%).

Andrew Steels, EMEA leader of Towers Watson’s HR Service Delivery practice, said: “Without question, HR service delivery is in a state of change and organisations need to embrace that change as the new constant.

“This means 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. In the end, it means using new concepts, approaches and technology to provide better HR services.”

2 Responses

  1. Agreed.

    HR Business Partnering has provided strategic benefits to organisations for a while but it's the concept of closer integration between business functions that has taken a while to come into vogue. This, alongside the realisation of human capital as the strongest competitive advantage, will make HRBP more widespread.

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Jamie Lawrence

Insights Director

Read more from Jamie Lawrence