74% of HR processes could be further streamlined through technology

Over 70% of HR departments will restructure in the next 12 months, as the overwhelming burden of manual, administrative HR services continues to inhibit transformational change in the workplace.

That’s according to a new survey, commissioned by Engage ESM and ServiceNow, that asked 100 of UK’s HR leaders within organisations employing 2,000+ people.

Currently, HR teams are focusing less than a third of their time (31%) on strategic activities, with the majority of their working week spent on ‘high‑touch’ operational tasks that rely on detailed email, telephone calls and spreadsheets, when handling routine employee enquiries, processing leave requests and on boarding new employees.

Every HR leader questioned believes they can make a significant contribution to their organization’s overall business strategy, but the vast majority (92%) felt their efforts are being stifled by the burden of day‑to‑day administration, preventing them from focusing on ‘high‑value’ initiatives, such as employee engagement, coaching and talent development.

Critical Investment

HR leaders see technology investment as critical to transforming the perception of HR, both across the business and in the boardroom. More than half (53%) of HR leaders will allocate extra budget to technology in the next 12 months, citing clear drives behind the investment:

 74% say HR processes could be further streamlined through technology

 91% believe technology is important in improving HR responsiveness

 8% agreed a higher level of technology investment would enable the HR function to add more value

“There is unanimous agreement among HR leaders over the significant contribution they can make to the business with the right technologies in place. The issue is that HR teams are being strangled by overly‑administrative processes and time‑consuming, manual tasks, and this means high‑touch isn’t translating to high‑value,” comments Jen Stroud, HR evangelist and transformation consultant, ServiceNow.

“HR leaders have a clear desire to spend their time where high‑touch delivers the most benefit, such as mentoring, training or talent management. The focus on technology investment will enable HR leaders to restructure existing operations to standardize HR processes and spend their time on meaningful interactions with employees,” Stroud adds.

Mat Middleton, CEO of Engage ESM, adds: “In a highly competitive market, people and the talent they represent are the key differentiator for any organisation, so it is no surprise that our research reflects the increasing importance of the HR function. Whilst there can be no doubt of the ambition of HR leaders, its clear that the deployment of service‑focused technology is key to help HR transform into the value center demanded by the business”