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HR Poorly Supported By IT Systems

June 22 2006 - Results from "The Gap Between IT and Strategic HR in the UK", a study by talent management solutions company Taleo, show a significant disconnect between HR's strategic functions, including talent acquisition and workforce planning, and IT ability to support these business initiatives.

The survey of 100 senior HR managers, all in organizations employing more than a thousand people, found that only a quarter thought that strategic functions such as workforce planning, leadership development and performance management were well supported by their IT systems. As a result, these managers thought that their human resource planning solutions needed to be updated. Only a third felt confident in systems support for recruitment and employee progression. Other findings included:

  • Current technology systems were out-of-date. Over half the respondents (55%) felt that more sophisticated technology systems and processes were needed to support recruitment and development.
  • IT focused on lower-level, administrative functions. Respondents said that payroll and employee administration (68%) and evaluation and management reporting (53%) were adequately supported by IT. However, more strategic HR initiatives such as performance management (28%), leadership development and planning (25%) and strategic workforce planning (25%) were not well supported.
  • Inadequate data and technology systems obstructed workforce management. Just 29% of respondents felt that they had sufficient systems in place to gain a clear picture of existing employee skills.
  • The HR function was striving to become more strategic. 63% of respondents cited talent management (including recruitment) as a significant priority in the year ahead.

Taleo Research Vice President, Alice Snell said:

"The gap between the support of administrative functions and strategic HR responsibilities needs to be addressed in order for HR directors to deliver results to the Board. When HR directors can assess the workforce changes needed by the business, acquire and develop the talent needed to optimise the workforce, and then measure the results, their true value can be realised."

"Findings of this study clearly show that HR is evolving to play a more strategic role in supporting fundamental business objectives, but the systems being used by HR functions are not keeping up," added Neil Hudspith, Senior Vice President, International Operations, Taleo. "It's clear that talent management and other strategic initiatives are being recognised as essential functions by ambitious companies that want to retain and recruit the best people, but organisations need to arm their HR directors with the tools and technology needed to support this strategy. The right HR technology is a critical element of any HR strategy moving forward."

A complete copy of the report can be downloaded here (requires registration).

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