Growth inevitably means hiring more people and whilst you’re responsible for getting people through the door, you might be under greater pressure when considering budgets for staff, technology or advertising, and in many cases, this can mean that HR and Recruitment teams become targets for such reductions.
This is exceptionally common across the public sector, where organisations who previously had HR representatives across multiple departments, now find themselves scaled back to a smaller central function or even sharing services across multiple organisations/regions.
Over the past 2-3 years, we’ve seen Shared Service Centres formed across many areas of the public sector and even private businesses are realising the opportunity to share costs and resources.
Although this is a change to standard organisational structures, the benefits can be countless:
- Bringing teams together allows you to standardise processes and drive efficiencies.
- Reduced duplication of effort allows resources to be freed up and focussed elsewhere.
- Sharing of best practice and knowledge across teams can help to upskill staff.
- Raise commercial revenue by selling shared service facilities to external organisations.
While this can sound like the perfect solution to solve your budget/resource problem, there are some challenges to consider:
- If teams are consolidated; do you need to reduce headcount, should you invest in a central services office or can teams continue to work from their original location?
- Staff who historically recruited for certain roles might need additional training, for example; Head Teacher recruitment is very different to recruiting administrators.
- Whilst there are short-term benefits - most come longer-term.
- Procurement and legal restrictions can at times create roadblocks.
At the heart of this change is technology which can help organisations to ease their transition. Software like Slack or Microsoft Teams will help geographical/remote teams to communicate well and tools like Confluence and SharePoint can help to build knowledge. A major benefit is having to maintain only one instance of these systems across all the organisations involved - which can help save thousands on licences and maintenance hours alone.
Whilst many HR and recruitment systems can be adapted to work across different organisations, implementing and rolling out a shared service system can be restrictive and complex. When building our shared service offer, we felt two of the most important aspects was to ensure an organisation does not lose their brand identity or any key functionality required. Using individualised branding, content and unique URL’s, a company can maintain the ability to recruit their own individual opportunities, whilst sharing application forms, templates and email content across a collaboration. In addition, by expanding our already comprehensive permission system, we allow recruiting managers to completely retain all their self-service functionality.
With GDPR regulations and security at the forefront of everything we do now, our ISO27001 (Information Security) and ISO9001 (Quality Management) accreditations reassure clients that our system is continually risk assessed and that candidate data/applications are effectively managed or restricted by user/organisational access. Security however should never be at the expense of a great user experience; whether a candidate seeking to apply quickly and easily, or a recruiter accessing the portal to review applicants and manage opportunities.
One very successful example of a shared service careers site is Greater.Jobs. This is a collaboration of 9 individual local authorities and from day one, we worked with key stakeholders to standardise all aspects of their recruitment process. Not only regulating forms, processes and workflows, engage|ats allowed Greater.Jobs to open the site up to external partners to advertise their opportunities, which has helped the collaboration to raise commercial revenue. Further information on the Greater.jobs collaboration can be found here.
There are various choices to promote shared service opportunities and I feel that going forward, we’ll see more organisations exploring, adapting and coming together to share resources or investing in systems which better match their individual needs. Although Shared Service Centres can be challenging, change can be good - as our clients have already proven!
Ian Key - Project Manager (Product & Innovation)