Why HR Shared Service Centres fail

Posted on: 30/01/2019

Why does HR Shared Services go wrong?

Organisations use shared services as a way of streamlining their HR activities, typically concentrating transactional activities into a centralised and commonly shared function. The shared service model can help businesses reduce costs and increase efficiency of processes and allow a greater focus on HR strategy.

When done well, HR Shared Service Centres (HRSSC) add untold value to an organisation. However, get it wrong and it can ruin employee experience and destroy the relationship between HR and the wider business. But why does it fail?

You haven’t engaged the business in the change

When you implement a HRSSC, two groups of people need properly consulting. The people working in the shared service centre and those who will be using it. Both of these groups are equally important. You need to take your customers on the journey with you and engage and influence, in order for them to understand how you’re changing the way they currently do things. If either of these groups of people aren’t engaged, the SSC simply won’t work.

You have rushed it

Delivering a HRSSC into a business takes time. It isn’t something you can decide to do and then implement within 2 weeks. You cannot do it half-arsed. There are a lot of things to consider – from mapping out processes and ensuring you have the right technology, right down to hiring and onboarding the right talent. All of these things take time. If you rush any areas and don’t give them the time and attention they need, the chances are they will fail.

You don’t use analytics to measure success and continuously improve

Establishing the right metrics to analyse in a HRSSC is the key to success. By monitoring data, you can see how your teams are performing and highlight inefficiencies and potential problem areas, that may need investigation.

Measuring results and data enables informed decisions to be made that drive your HRSSC to continually develop and run better. This gives your HR teams the resources they need to be successful, provides employees with a better experience and ultimately gets the business results you want.

Poor leadership

Having the right leader is important for any team, particularly in a shared service environment. If you have the wrong leaders in a share service centre, the wheels can fall off the entire operation, leaving you with an unhappy, disengaged team who lose their passion for delivering excellence. When this happens, the knock-on effect across the business can be immense.

A good shared service leader should be able to look beyond the SSC and understand the impact it has on employees, as well as customer and clients.

You don’t have the right technology

Technology is a fundamental component of any HRSSC. If you don’t have the right technology, then the SSC just won’t work. So, you need to check that your current HR systems are fit for purpose. Take time looking at your current systems and processes and what you need them to do. HR tech is a big investment, so make sure you choose the right one. Meet multiple vendors, get demonstrations – and challenge them, to make sure the system does everything you need it to. Modern HR technology allows HR to manage incoming requests, review case histories and related employee files, provide consistent responses and escalate a case when necessary.

You are probably reading this and wondering why I am writing all of this, because it all seems like common sense, right?

You would be amazed at how often people miss out one of the key elements to ensure their HR Shared Service Centre in a success.

So, do you agree? Have you had a Shared Service function which is been fantastic or failed spectacularly? Share your experiences!

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