An interaction with Jill Goldstein, Senior Manager of HR Outsourcing at Accenture revealed some interesting facts encircling the workforce management outsourcing market. Read on
GS:A brief on the current market scenario. How has the workforce management process outsourcing transformed?
JG:New marketplace realities—continued cost pressures, increased competition, rapid industry change and the global nature of the workplace— are factors making it challenging for companies to figure out how best to grow and manage their organizations. The key strategy in the current economic climate for most organizations is getting better utilization from people – increasing workforce productivity and performance.
To highlight the important and emerging trends, it’s worth noting how the early generations of business process outsourcing (BPO) services have matured. Traditional HR BPO focused on increasing capability, leveraging scale and managing costs. Increasingly, HR departments are now turning to outsourcing to help meet the challenge of doing more with less—even though many companies are globalizing and, in doing so, are creating a more complex HR environment. Today, the focus is on leveraging BPO to help transform the HR and learning functions enabling them to play a key role in driving business outcomes. BPO for HR and learning can put in place new processes that make the most of the workforce, with systems to reduce absenteeism and attrition, streamline training and incentivize creative action. This helps the organization improve day-to-day management while simultaneously boosting corporate growth.
Though HR management systems hold a wealth of data, many organizations still lack the ability to transform this data into actionable business intelligence and outcomes. This is because, in many cases, there are numerous sources of information from manual processes, making the data virtually impossible to access
GS:What are the different models/ methods of implementing being employed?
JG:Accenture's ongoing research into the characteristics of high-performance businesses continues to identify outsourcing as a critical capability of the top performers across every industry. Achieving competitive advantage through outsourcing is no simple matter. Companies must now look to bundling multiple functions (e.g., finance, learning and HR),
A new approach to HR outsourcing goes beyond simple cost reduction. It’s an approach that is strategic, integrated, and capable of driving business outcomes. It integrates all the key talent management services – recruitment, performance and progression, learning, and compensation.
For example, by outsourcing key elements of its HR functions, a European subsidiary of a large automotive manufacturer is using an efficient and effective method to help achieve increasingly higher levels of performance for its workforces and business, Over the last few years, Accenture has helped the European subsidiary of this large automotive manufacturer to achieve a reduction in HR cost, for services in scope, in excess of 30 percent, the implementation of an integrated HR system, the design and implementation of standardized HR processes across more than 20 countries and improvement in the scalability of HR services to meet peak demands. By choosing to outsource its HR services, the European subsidiary of this large automotive manufacturer is optimizing the performance of its workforce and improving its operational excellence.
GS:What recommendations would you like to give vendors, keeping in mind technology and market changes?
JG:Vendors need to continuously review emerging technology and market trends, updating our offerings, to maintain pace with client expectations – selected examples include
Leveraging SaaS/Cloud within the technology blueprint
Embedding social media/networking within recruitment and learning services, and
Focusing on emerging markets as key client geo priorities
That said, where vendors can truly drive value for their clients is in the area of workforce management -- leveraging workforce analytics provides organizations with improved decision making when it comes to workforce issues. It provides the ability to monitor the progress and effectiveness of HR programs to ensure they are optimizing resources and building the right workforce capabilities. It also offers greater visibility for helping control costs, increase employee productivity, manage compensation, improve retention and reduce voluntary turnover.
Workforce analytics allows companies to take a more fact-based approach to managing their workforce. It enables them to become more efficient and effective by providing the tools and insights that drive workforce performance, and keep talent and overall corporate strategies in step with the company’s business goals.
GS:How does the future look? Can you forecast some trends?
JG:HR BPO today is about mining the huge volume of transactional data that is being processed. It’s about using insights, deeper relationships and shared goals to help a client operate their own business better- something we call analytics, insight and innovation or driving business outcomes.
In addition to analytics, the next generation of HR outsourcing arrangements will be about quality, efficiency and effectiveness through the use of an innovative gain sharing mechanisms between client and provider. It’s another rung on the business outcome ladder whereby funding for systems development comes from savings derived from outsourcing.
While HR BPO is a proven tool to help organizations wade through challenging economic times, it can also drive measureable business outcomes and improvements for recruitment and learning. Most organizations today are beginning to link learning to strategy, how they make more productive a multi-generational workforce and how they source and deliver effective learning and collaboration. In particular, learning BPO plays a critical role in helping companies by increasing workforce skills and productivity. Using outsourcing to improve the recruitment and learning functions thus boosts the business contribution of an organization’s overall workforce.
GS:What are the challenges you face?
JG:Accenture believes that the primary cause of several lingering issues in HR BPO—cost overruns, low quality and scheduling troubles—is that human resources has been among the last business functions and processes to embrace long-standing and tested principles of industrialization.
Driving better industrialization in HR BPO can be challenging, but such challenges can be met. Indeed, there are compelling and proven ways of analyzing, measuring and improving organizations' ability to deliver HR processes.
GS: Benefits achieved from workforce management process outsourcing
JG:Reduced HR operating costs
Moving to a global delivery model and implementing proven, effective processes can offer significant savings in the cost of delivering HR services. Accenture HR BPO Services have helped organizations reduce HR operating expenses by 20 to 30 percent though the standardization, centralization and automation of key services. Accenture has embedded industry leading practices into documented processes, integrating people, process and technology within our industrialized model. We drive reduced
HR operating costs by leveraging our global delivery capability, utilizing a shared services model, and reducing transaction costs through increased self-service.
Improved workforce costs
Beyond reducing HR operating costs, Accenture has also achieved reductions of 4 to 6 percent in overall workforce costs. Accenture helps organizations minimize non-value added work, trim non-productive time, reduce absenteeism and cut the cost of poor quality. Accenture enables the organization to achieve tangible results that include better selection of top performers, improved retention of critical performers and workforces, better identification of poor performers, reskilling and deployment of displaced employees, and accelerated time to competency. Using proven, effective processes also frees up line managers’and employees’ time, resulting in significant increases in productivity.
Improved workforce results
Beyond reducing costs, Accenture HR BPO Services also help the organization achieve improved workforce results, measured by revenue increases of 1 to 2 percent. Accenture creates competitive advantage by forecasting and fulfilling talent requirements and aligning talent plans, workforce capabilities and employee performance with business strategy. Targeted learning campaigns are another strategic tool in improving employee performance. Drawing on a vast portfolio of assets, campaigns tailor the learning experience based on the audience and key business objectives, measuring results in terms that are meaningful to the client’s business. Results achieved for clients include measurable growth in sales and revenue, faster time to proficiency, and reduced time spent on training. Accenture mines workforce and benchmarking data for the insight required to drive talent decisions. Talent results are gauged through Return on Investment (ROI) and financial measures.