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How Two (Very Different) Organizations Operate Their HR Shared Service Center

Jolene Nicotina by Jolene Nicotina   November 03

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There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to establishing an HR shared service center (HRSSC). Company size, geographic dispersion, average tenure and department structure all combine to make each shared service project its own unique story. Such is the case for The University of Texas System (UT System), a higher education and medical center just 10 months into their HRSSC, and Travelex, a global foreign currency provider who’s had their HRSSC up and running for three years.

During a recent webinar, PeopleDoc spoke with Amber Powell, Human Resource Information Security and HR Service Center Leader, UT System and Clive Bolton, HR Project Manager, Travelex to find out how they made the case for an HRSSC, how a shared services model impacts employee experience, and in what ways data is changing the role of HR.


Here are some of the highlights:

Building the business case

How Two (Very Different) Organizations Operate Their HR Shared Service Center.pngAs Travelex evolves from a traditional retail company to a lean, digital products company, their HR operations had to follow suit. Their primary goal was to reduce costs by squeezing out redundant tasks and providing global standardization. They took a hard look at the numbers to make the case for an HRSCC: how many processes would be standardized, the cost-out for the business, and the amount of hours currently lost, among others.

At UT System, an organizational assessment revealed that HR was “seen as an afterthought,” according to Amber. “Managers came to us to hire and fire, but never for the strategy to retain employees or make sure they’re engaged.” Her team concluded they needed to be more strategic to better service employees and that a shared service model would help get them there.

The impact on employee experience

Employees, students and HR all benefit from the HRSSC across UT System’s 14 institutions. Instead of waiting for a single person to answer their questions during typical business hours, employees and students can resolve issues on their own, even on the weekend, through UT System’s self-service knowledge portal. “They’re very happy seeing they can get information at the touch of a button,” says Amber. Back-office HR staff can also anticipate better work-life balance as the portal will alleviate late hours during peak times, such as open enrollment.

This type of asynchronous support is especially helpful at Travelex, where employees work varying shifts across several different time zones. “Anytime, anyplace, people can get on with their work, they’re not relying on people, they’re not relying on a device,” says Clive.

Evolving the day-to-day with data


An HRSSC helps elevate the role of HR within an organization by freeing up time for HR to focus on data. Although UT Systems is early on in their journey, they’re already preparing quarterly reports on turnover costs, headcount spend, cost per hire, time to fill, and more. Not only will this data help serve internal stakeholders, as a public institution it better prepares them to respond to legislative changes.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Travelex has enough historical data to start predicting how certain actions might impact the business. They combine their HR data (which includes analytics from PeopleDoc) with sales figures to pinpoint any correlations between sales performance and factors such as number of absences or engagement level. If they see a pattern working well for one team, they can consider replicating it for others.

This is an example of how Travelex’s HR department gets involved in other projects now that they’re not bogged down by broken processes and manual intervention. “Seeing it working has really given HR a good, strategic position at the table,” says Clive.

There’s a lot more to learn from Travelex and UT Systems. Watch the webinar to get their full stories.

Hear UT System and TravelEx's  Stories on Leading a Modern  HR Shared Service Center
Hear UT System and TravelEx's  Stories on Leading a Modern  HR Shared Service Center
Jolene Nicotina
Jolene Nicotina

Jolene Nicotina is the Content Marketing Manager for North America at PeopleDoc, Inc. She works on making sure HR professionals have all the latest information they need related to HR service delivery, HR technology, and PeopleDoc, Inc. Prior to PeopleDoc, Jolene worked in marketing communications for the healthcare technology industry.

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