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Enhancing performance with shared services

Eric Schroeder, Chief Operating Officer - Velocity Global

The global economy continues to get even more… global. Worldwide product sourcing is standard, and international talent sourcing, accelerated by the pandemic, is becoming the norm. Shared services present an opportunity to free your organization from obstacles that have blocked the path to world-class talent management.

When competing in the Indianapolis 500 or the Grand Prix, professional race car teams go to great lengths to ensure their cars are the fastest they can possibly be. From selecting the top of the line engine to the grade of oil used to even ensuring the exact type of treadless tires for the specific track, nothing is overlooked in trying to reduce even the most miniscule amount of drag. F1 cars are so finely tuned that the engines can’t even start when they’re cold because the pistons fit too tightly into cylinders to move properly.

Just like professional race teams, business leaders also need to go to great lengths to reduce drag – or friction – that can prevent them from obtaining the competitive advantage they need to get ahead in their industries. This can take the form of new technology that makes things more efficient or new processes that reduce time or input costs. To be successful, we doggedly seek efficiency, looking for every advantage to streamline the connection between effort and results just like the race car team looking to shed milliseconds from a personal record.

The last several years transformed how companies relate to their employees, including remote work, hybrid work, hiring talent on flexible contracts and in different locations – and this accelerated even faster over the course of the pandemic. Something that until only recently was relatively straightforward – hiring employees to do their jobs – rapidly transformed in degree of complexity. This change introduces a tremendous amount of friction and inefficiency in hiring and staffing processes.

So, what can a company do to reduce friction and focus instead on accomplishing results? Bring in the experts. Professional race teams have a stable of experts providing them with insights into everything from engines to tires, including competitive intelligence on how to best navigate each specific curve on every different track they race on. This strategy lets the drivers focus on what they do best: crossing the finish line first.

Likewise in business, if you want to compete and succeed on the global stage by finding and hiring the top talent using a wide range of contract types, locations, and hybrid work options, then you too need to bring in the experts – in this case experts in shared HR software services.

In managing human resources, shared services reduce barriers to peak performance at the individual level, allowing the very best global talent to focus on what they do best. Shared services also lead to peak performance at the organizational level, allowing the company to employ a higher echelon of talent while limiting distractions, missteps, and inefficiencies.

For years, the added benefit of an expanded talent pool has often been overwhelmed by the complexities of managing across borders – international boundaries for sure but even just across state lines. The privilege of tapping into a larger talent pool has been limited mostly to bigger organizations with broader infrastructure and resources.

Finance and operations groups have for years looked to shared services to help translate their functions into solutions for challenges presented by an increasingly global supply chain, currency fluctuations, and geopolitical shifts. Organizational priorities often have not as urgently emphasized this same transformation for HR groups for a variety of reasons.

But in 2020 with the onset of near universal remote work, human resource management was immediately thrust into a new era, ready or not. An investment in shared services on the HR front ensures that you don’t have to be an expert in payroll and compliance for multiple states or countries. Rather, you just have to engage with someone who is.

Shared services offer another, less obvious benefit – insights. A specialized organization builds the systems and processes to capture and analyze the data core to its speciality, so an HR-focused shared services organization can amass and process data that no individual HR department has the time, resources, or capacity to unlock. The result can be better business strategy that is grounded in real-time, data-driven insights used for internal, industry or market benchmarking.

A shared service arrangement provides the time and space for your organization’s HR department to focus on its passion to perform critical talent development functions both more effectively and efficiently, leading to a workforce that is more fulfilled, productive, and engaged. It can also be done incrementally – shaving off precious milliseconds, or whole afternoons of inefficiency – by plugging these shared services into your existing tech stack, circumventing those processes that are causing the most drag.

The future of work is flexible and if your organization’s HR structure is built on the rigidity of the past, there are easy solutions that can be found. Embracing shared services for human resource management can be a comfortable step forward – it’s a proven model, ideally suited for a future of work that’s coming at us with astonishing speed. By integrating more shared services into your HR processes it will ensure you are well-positioned to be the first to cross the finish line on the global stage.

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