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There has been some recent developments going on with the increased adoption of Shared Services models by large Australian companies and I feel the push comes as the next step of moving HR from a tactical position, to a strategic one. Take for instance the continual de-evolution of HR responsibilities to managers since the mid 1990s. These developments are going a step further and splitting part of the responsibility from the manager back to the individual employee.

Shared Service infrastructure has a great capacity for self-service and by capitalising on building consistent and integrated technological systems it is not only reducing the administrative paperwork and overheads but it’s also allowing the capture of incredibly valuable quantitative data.

The ability to then harness that data by understanding it and then using it to make solid, objective and strategic decisions is going to fall on HR shoulders. In the future I feel that organisations aren’t going to want to outsource the data interpretation to business analysts, they’re more likely to desire internal HR to analyse that data coming from an informed standpoint of both HR theory and experience, and analytical comprehension. Thus shaping the roles within HR, particularly with specialisation. This may even lead to completely new roles in the field of HR, as systems become increasingly complicated and require more in depth knowledge (also more time to use that knowledge as HR will be less bound by time consuming administrative duties).

Finally, what I find really exciting about the impact of these developments is the building of HR credibility in respect to other business stakeholders. It’s no secret that HR can be easily devalued by other departments -such as finance- because they operate and speak in numbers. This has always been a struggle in HR, particularly with defending or requesting the use of funds (especially when departments compete for budgets). The ability to attend these high level meetings armed with data, HR metrics and trend analysis is going to facilitate a much more compelling conversation and help ease the “language” barrier.

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