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74% of HR Departments to Restructure in the Next 12 Months, as Routine Administrative Tasks Stifle Strategic Initiatives

HR Leaders to Invest in Technology in 2016 to Drive Transformation in HR Service Delivery

London, U.K. – 12 July 2016 –74% of HR departments will restructure in the next 12 months, as the overwhelming burden of manual, administrative HR services continues to inhibit transformational change in the workplace, according to a survey of 100 of UK HR leaders within organisations employing 2,000+ people, commissioned by Engage ESM and ServiceNow.

Currently, HR teams are focusing less than a third of their time (31%) on strategic activities, with the majority of their working week spent on ‘high‑touch’ operational tasks that rely on detailed email, telephone calls and spreadsheets, when handling routine employee enquiries, processing leave requests and on boarding new employees. (For more details on time‑intensive high‑touch HR processes please read Jen Stroud’s blog, “High Touch When It Really Matters”.)

Every HR leader questioned believes they can make a significant contribution to their organization’s overall business strategy, but the vast majority (92%) felt their efforts are being stifled by the burden of day‑to‑day administration, preventing them from focusing on ‘high‑value’ initiatives, such as employee engagement, coaching and talent development.

HR leaders see technology investment as critical to transforming the perception of HR, both across the business and in the boardroom. More than half (53%) of HR leaders will allocate extra budget to technology in the next 12 months, citing clear drives behind the investment:

  • 74% say HR processes could be further streamlined through technology
  • 91% believe technology is important in improving HR responsiveness
  • 8% agreed a higher level of technology investment would enable the HR function to add more value

“There is unanimous agreement among HR leaders over the significant contribution they can make to the business with the right technologies in place. The issue is that HR teams are being strangled by overly‑administrative processes and time‑consuming, manual tasks, and this means high‑touch isn’t translating to high‑value,” comments Jen Stroud, HR evangelist and transformation consultant, ServiceNow.

“HR leaders have a clear desire to spend their time where high‑touch delivers the most benefit, such as mentoring, training or talent management. The focus on technology investment will enable HR leaders to restructure existing operations to standardize HR processes and spend their time on meaningful interactions with employees,” Stroud adds.

Mat Middleton, CEO of Engage ESM, adds: “In a highly competitive market, people and the talent they represent are the key differentiator for any organisation, so it is no surprise that our research reflects the increasing importance of the HR function. Whilst there can be no doubt of the ambition of HR leaders, its clear that the deployment of service‑focused technology is key to help HR transform into the value center demanded by the business”

Additional Resources

  1. HR Service Management Product Page
  2. I Need To…Modernize the Employee Experience Page
  3. Solutions By Role – HR Page
  4. Is Your Office Draining Employee Productivity ‑ HR Infographic

About The Research

The HR survey was carried out by Vanson Bourne in February 2016 with 100 HR leaders in UK‑based organisations with more than 2,000 employees, across financial services, manufacturing, retail, distribution and transport, and commercial and public sectors. For further background download a white paper based on the research here and for the original data contact Sharon Holland, details below.

About Engage ESM, Formerly Innovise ESM

Engage ESM works with organizations to improve their ability to innovate and respond to the changing needs of the business. Whether the challenge is reducing costs, corporate governance, taking on new services or implementing a new HR framework. Engage ESM provides the impartial advice, expert skills and the service management technology to enable organizations to manage continuous change. Key partners include ServiceNow, Cisco, Moogsoft and CliQr. For further information, visit: www.engage‑

About ServiceNow

ServiceNow is changing the way people work. With a service‑orientation toward the activities, tasks and processes that make up day‑to‑day work life, we help the modern enterprise operate faster and be more scalable than ever before. Customers use our service model to define, structure and automate the flow of work, removing dependencies on email and spreadsheets to transform the delivery and management of services for the enterprise. ServiceNow enables service management for every department in the enterprise including IT, human resources, facilities, field service and more. We deliver a ‘lights‑out, light‑speed’ experience through our enterprise cloud – built to manage everything as a service. To find out how, visit


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