Thoughts from the ScottMadden HR Shared Services Survey

801229v2v1ScottMadden recently released their HR Shared Services Benchmarking Survey, and there is some really interesting data for your review.  You can get the results here or email with the subject line “Survey Results – 15HRSSO_LNK_HRSSO” for a copy.  They do a great job of looking at several elements of Shared Services, and the report summarizes them nicely.  There are a few numbers in the report that I found especially interesting that I’d like to point out.  Feel free to go grab a copy before you read further.  I’ll wait.

OK, is everyone back?  Great.

First, on page five, I was struck by how many organizations have a Shared Services function that is less than a year old.  The benefits and the method of setting up a Shared Services function are well documented, and yet there are companies that are still working on the decision to adopt.  Why are so many companies waiting?  I’d expect it is mostly inertia, as the cost of entry is pretty low.  The biggest obstacle I’ve seen from a cost perspective is in moving people to a central location or hiring a new team, but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that tells us an HR Helpdesk need not be physically grouped together with the right technology.

Next, page eight.  Look at the difference in speed to answer.  The notes indicate a tiered approach improves speed to answer, which is true for top performers and median.  Bottom performers see no difference.  I suppose this isn’t a surprise, but it does show that teams that struggle to get to calls, perhaps from being understaffed, do so regardless of structure.  Capacity and capabilities are far more important than the decision to tier.  It is worth noting, though, that a tiered approach yields a significant improvement in first call resolution, and nowhere is that more evident that in the bottom quartile.  So maybe that question of structure is important after all.

The final thing that caught my eye is the discussion on productivity on page eleven, specifically call volume for bottom and top quartiles.  On average, bottom quartile performers handle 80 inquiries per month.  That’s less that four per day.  Top quartile sees 475 per month, or right around 22 daily.  It begs the question of what drives such a disparity in capacity.  (The same capacity, I suspect, causing the issues we saw on page eight.)  Is it an investment in the right systems, like self service, knowledge base and case management?  Is it a capacity issue, trying to handle too many employees with too few people?  (The staffing ratios on page ten would indicate otherwise.)  Or something else that we don’t see in the survey?

Knowing these answers would put you in a great position to improve the performance of your own Shared Services team.  Being a survey, of course, there are more questions than answers in the ScottMadden report.  But knowing the right questions is often more important the answers themselves.

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