HR housekeeping desperately needed, finds survey

05/11/2007 09:35:00

HR Directors question the value of outsourcing, preferring to manage processes in-house, yet struggle to achieve acceptable delivery standards in core functions

A survey of 168 HR Directors has revealed many are struggling to achieve adequate standards of delivery in core HR functions such as diversity, retention, training and staff motivation, yet at the same time, question the value of recruitment outsourcing and prefer to keep core processes in-house.

The survey, carried out by recruitment process outsourcing specialist hy-phen at the recent CIPD annual conference in Harrogate, explored current attitudes towards outsourcing the recruitment process, as well as investigating how effectively HR Directors felt their departments supported organisational goals, with some startling findings.

HR departments struggling to deliver many core HR functions that support the business...

Age Diversity Difficulties
Nearly one fifth (18%) of HR Directors still receive requests for candidates of a particular age from line managers

Only 48% and 50% respectively felt they were achieving high standards of delivery in age/gender diversity and regulatory compliance

Only half (55%) had a grip on their diversity status, with 45% feeling they wouldn't be able to provide accurate figures if an audit were carried out within a week

Managers Causing Migraines
When asked how long it typically took to fill a management role, half (50%) take more than three months to fill, while nearly 10% take more than five months

Introspective on Staff Retention
When quizzed about their views on the importance of external providers, 2 in 5 HR Directors (42%) felt external training providers were either not important or had no view ('neutral')

Peripheral People Process
18% of HR Directors felt they weren't close enough to their organisation's core business to help achieve its strategic goals

Par for the Course
In no single category did two-thirds of respondents feel a high standard was being delivered in core HR functions such as employee motivation, workforce planning, talent management and flexible working

Knowledge is Power
When asked if they could provide accurate information on key areas if an audit was conducted of their department next week, many showed lack of access to organisational knowledge. Only in 'Staff Turnover' did more than 80% of HR Directors have immediate access to management statistics. Again staff retention and time taken to fill vacancies prove to be a pain point, with 'Time taken to fill vacancies' (51%) scoring the lowest

...Yet doubt the need for third parties to provide consultancy and critical resource...

Risky Business
When asked what effect on risk they felt represents, More than half (56%) of respondents feel outsourcing of HR functions to an external third party increases organisational risk, and many (20%) question whether it has any impact on risk at all

Similarly, when asked what value outsourcing HR functions to an external third party would offer, only half (51%) feel it adds value, while the remaining half (49%) feel it either erodes value, or has absolutely no effect

In-House Choke Hold
Arguably the least strategic HR function of the options provided (payroll) was the only one fully outsourced by a significant proportion (20%). The next highest fully outsourced process was strategic consultancy at a mere 8%
All but one function (training and development - 34%) were in 40 percentiles for being kept fully in-house. Other options provided were Remuneration & Benefits, Recruitment Assessment & Selection, Strategic Consultancy and Research

Neil Jones, Managing Director, hy-phen, commented: "Whilst it's understandable that HR Directors may perceive recruitment outsourcing as relinquishing control of critical processes, these findings illustrate many desperately need support.

Recruitment Process Outsourcing can not only manage the back-end, high-volume processes such as payroll, but also the more strategic elements of HR, such as talent management and resource planning. HR directors have to shoulder a huge amount of responsibility and must retain the highest possible standards, and outsourcing can help them do that, freeing up their time to focus on more effectively supporting the business."