HR services take to the Net

Human resources service providers are planning to set up web sites offering
on-line advice for employers.

In the latest development in the burgeoning market for outsourced personnel
services, information and advice services will be provided on a
subscription-based Web page.

These would supplement or replace call centres which offer such services on
an outsourced or shared service basis.

The service would be of particular attraction to smaller firms which cannot
afford a large personnel department and employment law experts.

But outsource provider Capita said it will introduce elements of Web-based
service to its existing contract at the London Borough of Westminster, where it
runs the personnel function.

"Increasingly both employees and managers recognise that the Internet
can supply them with quicker and easier information," said Jane Lucas,
sales and marketing director for Capita’s HR division. The Web holds open the
possibility for different packages on varying subscription rates to be
available on an a la carte basis, she added.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers is also developing products, said Alannah Hunt,
partner at the consulting giant’s search and selection arm. "Information
will be available through various screens, then for specialist enquiries you
could e-mail an expert," she said.

Technology will not necessarily replace personnel jobs, said Lucas, because
much of the demand is new – smaller companies using such services would have
got by without the advice in the past.

On the provider side, although the web page will replace the telephone call,
those providing the advice will still be required, as information will need
constant review and updating.

A basic form of Web-based HR advice already exists through salary benchmark

"What I suspect will happen is that some of these will be brought
together [with an advice service]," said Hunt.

"A number of the larger consulting firms are looking in this

By Philip Whitely\uk

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