By Campbell Fisher
To gain a greater understanding of how organisations can effectively build an integrated shared services solution and a centre of excellence for HR, WR and WHS FCB Groups.
In Australia, workplace relations remain firmly on the HRM agenda this year as the area continues to be a challenge, as we move to a harmonised national system of regulations.
While many organisations have already transformed their transactional HR processes to increase productivity and scale, knowledge-based HR advisory services remain the next step to consider.
One of the key benefits of a central model for HR advisory services case management is the ability to generate on going reporting and metrics on systemic employment issues. This enables businesses to make smarter decisions by accurately reporting on issues raised, for example, service standards, quality and cost on a per-transaction-per-head or per-business unit basis.
Undoubtedly, there’s a role for the shared services model in the HR and WHS advisory space. Indeed, in the last decade there have been a number of significant legislative changes that now make it more logical to apply a shared services solution. These include the Fair Work Act 2009; 122 Modern Awards, 10 National Employment Standards; Independent Contractors Act 2006; Work Health and Safety harmonisation of legislation through 2012 to 2013 and the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010. This progressive move to national or state harmonised regulatory frameworks provides an organisation with the ability to centralise workplace relations’ advisory functions to gain greater value and efficiencies.
Furthermore, the deep cuts inflicted by the GFC have an on going impact on an organisation’s HR function. While transactional HR services may have been partially or fully automated eliminating the need for HR teams to handle this workload, HR resources are being stretched to manage operational and compliance issues. This is diluting the HR department’s ability to deliver strategic initiatives, which support competitive advantage and assist the organisation to achieve their commercial objectives.
HR Directors are validly questioning their HR structure, design and delivery priorities in light of stretched resources. Core competencies sought for HR teams focus on employment branding, talent attraction, talent mapping, culture, leadership development and coaching, as well as talent retention.
With this primary focus, many organisations are seeking answers to how they can deliver HR, ER and WHS advisory in new effective and efficient delivery mechanisms.
Yet just think about the breadth of service offering that the HR function delivers. This includes providing expert advice and consultancy on workplace relations matters; developing and managing policies and programs for labour relations, employment, induction and training. There’s also the need for experienced negotiation skills, and the ability to arrange representation as appropriate at industrial tribunals and hearings. On a day-to-day basis, there’s a need to monitor employment relations developments, conditions of employment, welfare, security, safety and training of employees. And at all times, there’s a need to ensure workplace relations compliance through regular auditing and procedural training of employees.
While there is undoubtedly more red tape and compliance paperwork, many businesses may not be able to support a business case for additional resources to manage all these issues. At the same time, attracting, retaining and providing meaningful career paths for specialist workplace relations experts to resource in-house teams often proves difficult for large organisations.
However, with the development of new technologies that ease the delivery of a shared service or an alliance model as well as the national/harmonised regulatory frameworks, an on going partnering relationship with an external workplace relations specialist really starts to make sense. Through this partnership organisations are better able to maximise the value their HR function provides the business, proactively manage workplace issues thereby reducing their cost to the business and improve service quality through better customer alignment.
For HR Directors though, it’s not just about delivering cost reduction – additional drivers include access to specialist services and expertise, leveraging IP, implementing knowledge management systems, managing risk and empowering managers through new effective accessible delivery models.
Given the maturity and high success rates achieved from transactional HR shared services, it’s no surprise to see forward-thinking HR Directors are considering incorporating expert and advisory services within the shared services model. The next step will be considering if they should also incorporate strategic advisory services within this model or form alliance relationships with external workplace relations specialists to provide consistent, quality advice cost effectively.
Contact: Campbell Fisher email@example.com