"I foresee HR outsourced service vendors, be it in recruitment, HR operations or benefits, mature and perfect their capabilities...This frees up bandwidth for core HR function to focus on human capital strategies and executions that has direct impact and alignment to the company bottom line." This was my response when a local Human Resources magazine journalist asked me recently for my thoughts on how the HR function will evolve in the next 5 years.
What does this mean for HR practitioners who are involved in integrating HR service delivery? As HR service vendors' offerings get more frequent and important, it is crucial to have a set of effective operating principles that underline our engagement with service vendors.
Here's three that I can think of:
- Define who and the needs of the service recipients. The reason why HR services are outsourced is because the service delivery can be optimally delivered. These experts live and breath in providing HR services and are able to leverage economies of scale. Although I term service vendors as expert centre of excellence, they do have a knowledge gap that we as corporate HR practitioners need to educate them on. They need to understand the specific needs of the service recipents and the nuances that make client organisation unique. This translates to both corporate and outsourcing HR practitioners needing to invest time and effort in mining real intelligence from our service recipients at all levels of the organisation; not just at the top.
- Establish and communicate outsourced service performance metrices. To ensure everyone delivers, 'down the line' from account managers to the call agents who interact with our service recipients daily. Their performances need to be measured. What gets measured gets done. A clear set of SMART performance matrices that stakeholders are accounted for provide that platform for great work to be delivered and recognised.
- Review service agreement and standard regularly or annually to ensure follow-up improvement actions are executed. HR Service outsourcing is never an "on-and-forget" arrangement. Business environment changes and as a result our service recipients' needs will change as well. Even if the external business environment doesn't change, practices and standards in terms of how service vendors provide their services would have been improved over time and across industry. Hence, a regular review of the service quality and how it can be better makes sense.
As corporate HR practitioners, we may outsource our HR services but we can never outsource our reputation. Outsourced service will negatively impact our HR reputation if it is does not satisfy the service recipients. We have to get it right.