One of the key arguments in favor of HR outsourcing is that by outsourcing the operational aspects, HR professionals will be freed up to engage in more strategic issues. This is far from true. Many of the employees’ problems do not present themselves in neat and discrete ‘operational’ packets. The solutions to many issues are quite complex and often require the involvement of one or more managers, assessment of the potential impact of decisions on peers, judgment about making exceptions based on special considerations and so on.
Quite often, insights to shape new policy emerge from a deep understanding of operational issues and implementation realities. Business leaders refuse to engage with HR on strategic issues unless some of their burning operational issues are addressed. The separation of HR operations from HR strategy is, therefore, untenable.
Many Indian organizations realize that shared service centers cannot replace their HR presence on the floor. If the current trends are any indication, there has been a huge surge in the demand for HR professionals. The HR-to-employee ratio is not falling and is, in fact, being debated constantly. Organizations are realising that they need someone to constantly engage with their employees to communicate the value proposition, clarify their understanding of the same, support them even as they navigate through the various HR systems and processes, solve their problems and demonstrate to them that they matter.
In fact, the organisations with high engagement scores are the ones with “empathetic presence” and not “excellent processes”. This trend is welcome and as more and more organizations may actually emerge with an HR outsourcing model which is a lot more humane and a lot less cost-driven.