Towers Perrin Survey Shows Companies Making Major Strides in Implementing and Streamlining HR Technology Systems

Key Technology Growth Areas for 2008 Include Talent Management and Manager Self-Service

STAMFORD, CT, August 29, 2007 — In a recent annual survey of HR service delivery trends among global organizations, Towers Perrin found that companies are finally reaping the benefits of IT investments in human resources systems, and moving from core upgrades to streamlining for greater efficiency and effectiveness. The percentage of companies in the current survey that are focused primarily on upgrading their HR systems dropped by close to 20 percentage points from the year before, and the top objective for this year’s respondent group was “streamlining HR processes/systems.�

The survey also found that many organizations have moved beyond implementation and into more strategic use of upgraded technology systems. Large companies are increasingly focused on talent management applications, especially the strategic use of manager self-service (MSS) for this purpose. This year’s survey group also reported rapid growth in the PeopleSoft and SAP applications that streamline and support attraction, retention and engagement of employees.

“Organizations have mastered and are moving beyond traditional aspects of HR service delivery, which address core benefits and compensation delivery programs,” said Thomas Keebler, leader of the firm�s global HR Technology practice. “With basic transactional processes firmly and successfully in place, forward-looking organizations are turning their attention to the more strategic and arguably more value-added areas of recruiting and other people- and performance-oriented processes.”

Talent Management Applications

The survey showed that HR service delivery professionals are increasingly focused on helping their organizations find, attract, retain and engage employees. Among top service delivery issues for 2007, recruiting and staffing were in the top three, along with talent and performance management. Nearly a third of respondents reported each of these related issues near the top of their service delivery agendas, and detailed survey results on systems and applications support those views.

“What we see this year is a wiser, better-planned approach to delivering talent management. Organizations are now using words like ‘streamlined’ and ‘integrated’ to describe their HR service delivery processes and systems related to talent management,” said Keebler. “Having made many of their key strategic investments, companies can focus on both optimizing the work they have done and making new investments to broaden out their talent management systems. Onboarding is a notable example, with the number of participants with a planned onboarding solution likely to reach 61% (from just 19%) by year-end 2008.”

Manager Self-Service

Another new development for 2007 is the dramatic upsurge in MSS applications to help deliver HR programs across the board, from traditional manager-directed processes to newer and more innovative ones. In many HR domains, the prevalence of new MSS applications has doubled in the past 12 months, along with intent to implement these new systems before the end of 2008.

As organizations begin to realize the breadth of areas that MSS can support and the effectiveness that MSS solutions can now deliver, they are more willing to investigate and invest in these applications. And for programs ranging from benefit delivery to performance management and pay, a well-designed and well-executed MSS program provides a highly valuable overlay to existing employee self-service (ESS) programs and other channels for HR service delivery.

Employee Self-Service

ESS has become the primary means of HR service delivery for most organizations, with fully 98% of the survey respondents offering online benefit enrollment this year. Whether an organization insources or outsources HR, ESS is far and away the most common means of delivering HR services to employees. In addition, the majority of survey respondents reported significant reductions in workload as a result of ESS deployments. And these reductions affect not only HR departments, but also employees themselves.

“The benefits of ESS are widespread and include a more empowered workforce that is more apt to take responsibility for its own HR and benefit decisions, greater accuracy of employee data and faster HR processes,” said Keebler. “ESS is an area that has truly lived up to the hype of relieving HR from administrative work to focus on more strategic activities. Done properly, it offers only upside and no downside.”

This year’s survey highlights two important developments in the ESS world right now. One, certain core processes delivered through ESS have become ubiquitous. And two, as a result. HR is now looking at a far broader and more sophisticated set of processes for ESS going forward, particularly in the realm of talent management.

HR Systems Trends

Survey findings on the use of both PeopleSoft and SAP products showed a continued interest in investing in applications that help organizations attract, retain and engage the workforce — from staffing to onboarding to performance management.

Current users are moving rapidly to ensure their systems have more impact from a people standpoint, primarily by implementing such programs as:

  • Recruiting solutions: Nearly one-quarter will implement by the end of next year, an increase of more than 50% among current users.
  • Performance management: Nearly 25% will implement by the end of next year, almost doubling the number that currently run such programs.
  • Enterprise learning management: Eight percent will implement by the end of next year, nearly doubling the 11% currently using these tools.
  • Workforce analytics: Twenty-eight percent will implement by the end of next year, a more than 200% increase over the 13% of respondents currently offering this functionality.

About the Survey

The 10th annual survey on the state of HR service delivery and technology included 275 organizations, 84% of which were based in the U.S., with additional representation in Canada, Europe and Asia/Pacific. Forty-seven percent have operations primarily located in one country, while 41% are global.

About Towers Perrin

Towers Perrin is a global professional services firm that helps organizations improve their performance through effective people, risk and financial management. Through its HR Services business, Towers Perrin provides global human resource consulting that helps organizations effectively manage their investment in people. Areas of focus include employee benefits, compensation, communication, change management, employee research and the delivery of HR services. The firm�s other businesses are Reinsurance, which provides reinsurance intermediary services, and Tillinghast, which provides management and actuarial consulting to the financial services industry. Together these businesses have offices and business partner locations in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, Latin America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. More information about Towers Perrin is available at