Self-Service HR: Really?!

finger pointing at graphic man self service HRIt is a bit mind-boggling to think that any company would outsource HR and submit their employees to the frustrations of self-service HR. It’s not like the company decision-makers don’t have any experience with screaming simple words over and over into a phone trying to get a dumb-witted voice recognition system to recognize real words, or with sitting through an endless number of clicks and searches for the answer they seek online.

So what, pray tell, possessed employers to think that “Golly darn, this is a genius way to handle all those pesky HR questions” in the first place?

Granted such might have made sense in the depths of the recession when those lucky enough to be employed didn’t dare complain about anything for fear of being let go, and employers had to cut some things just to stay in business. And then there was the whole onslaught of thousands of new job applicants to contend with, so ok, maybe HR self-service was a matter of self-survival at the time.

But that was then and this is now.

In other words, the recession is over even if the economy has yet to fully recover. The resulting shift in skill sets needed to up a company’s competitive game is also complete. And the discovery that those skill sets are few and far between, downright rare even, is a bit of a shock to employers coming as we are from a glut of available labor.

The game has flipped in other words. It’s no longer an employer’s market; it’s an employee’s market. At least it is for employees with the right skill sets. And those employees, both present and future, are flipping self-service the finger.

To put the whole thing in perspective consider that outsourcing HR and deploying HR self-service are about cutting costs. But, attracting and retaining talent is not about cutting costs; it’s about building the company. A mind shift from cutting to building is therefore in order.

And you build a formidable team of talent by first not ticking them off. So either skip the HR self-service entirely or offer it as an alternative venue rather than a sole source of information and help.

You recruit and retain talent by making them happy which calls for a robust and on-site HR team, not a skeletal crew with self-service baggage.

“In this environment, high-performing Chief HR officers (CHROs) will provide a laser-like focus on high-value areas that empower and foster teamwork,” said Josh Bersin, principal and founder, Bersin by Deloitte in a statement to the press. “For example, programs that support business agility and innovation, continuous learning, new models of leadership and management, and workforce planning and intelligence.”

Yes, you need all of that in HR if your company is to be competitive. But beyond that, if we continue to rag-tag HR we will soon learn we trashed the whole company.

Pam BakerPam Baker is the author of eight books and hundreds of technology articles published daily in leading online and print publications. She is a member of the National Press Club (NPC) and the Internet Press Guild (IPG). You can reach her or follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

Tags: Business,Business Management
  • Nong

    I find these types of studies and parpes both fascinating and frustrating at the same time. While I can appreciate not releasing the details received from specific companies by name, I’m always curious what companies took part in the survey and data collection. In this case it’s nice to know that 158 mid-sized US based companies responded, but (in my humble opinion) it lends no credibility to the data if I don’t know who the companies are.[disclaimer: I'm talking about these types of reports in general - I don't know if the Bernsin data shares company names within the report or not]Those of us who have been doing this on the corporate side for a considerable amount of time know that there are some companies putting forth efforts that should be applauded and/or watched closely and other organizations that are saying they do X or Y but make no real investment from a $ or headcount perspective (but enjoy providing results’ or feedback’)To me, this makes a considerable difference when it comes to the credibility of the data that gets pushed out as findings for the recruiting industry to consider as a whole.I’d like some transparency, please.As to this particular report, I can appreciate the breakdown of companies shown within the executive summary as well as some of the interesting data points, but are the companies listed anywhere within this $1,000 document? If so, it’s something I might consider stepping up to both purchase and support.But hey, maybe I’m just crazy like that.