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HR service centres to improve customer service


Service centres will help HR departments to move towards being more customer-focussed, according to Tom Eddington from management consultancy Hewitt Associates.

Eddington says that the standardisation of tasks increases efficiency, freeing up HR advisers to develop their specialisms in a more proactive way. He spoke of the financial benefits of service centres made by increased efficiency through centralisation, service improvement and the elimination of duplicated work, and the improved ability to pick up on trends in areas like recruitment and retention.

Self-service will also have a part to play, Eddington added, in allowing people to access and manipulate their own records and thus making further time-savings for HR teams, although the "the human element is still vital for decision support."

Although Eddington says that technology can assist trained people in answering relevant questions or pointing people in the right direction, moving to a service centre approach can have its drawbacks. There is a potential that administrative staff may lose the variety in their jobs and be left with just the mundane transactional duties, existing as a type of HR 'call centre' and leading to frustration and loss of motivation.

Eddington concludes by stating that "HR service centres are here to stay". The challenge is going to be managing the change within HR departments themselves.

Tom Eddington was speaking at the first day of the IPD's Computers in Personnel event, which ends today. Current HR systems users are invited to air their views in the Computers in Personnel Survey online at:


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