Central services threaten HR’s ‘human touch’

Organisations which set up shared services centres to free HR professionals from routine administrative work risk losing the personal touch.

A report by the Institute of Employment Studies, HR Shared Services and the Re-Alignment of HR, found a range of benefits from centralising administrative tasks, including lower costs, a single point of contact for employees and more time for personnel staff to dedicate to strategic issues.

But report author, IES principal research fellow Peter Reilly, said care needs to be taken to avoid HR becoming remote. Staff could regard dealing with an intranet rather than a member of the HR team as impersonal, he said.

“In many areas it does not matter one way or another but with issues like maternity or bereavement staff might prefer to actually speak to someone.”

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