Rise of the HR Specialist
Gery Messer expounds on three particular trends
in HR for 2012, including the rise of self-service which will reduce
the need for HR generalists across the industry.
By Isabella Chan
2012 | Corporate
belt tightening will increase in 2012, and HR directors will need
to take a holistic view about what employees find attractive, to
retain their staff in light of a slow-down in recruitment. This
is the view of NorthgateArinso (NGA), a global provider of Human
Resource systems and services, who released in mid-February this
year, their NGA predictions for 2012.
President for NorthgateArinso Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa,
shared NGA’s HR outlook. “…If companies are not
making redundancies then they will certainly be slowing down costly
recruitment. Instead, we will see retention strategies implemented,
with HR Directors [HRDs] looking to hold onto their staff by providing
better training and opportunities as well as reward packages, ”
Mutli-country payroll will grow, as investors look towards
emerging economies in view of the economy in the Eurozone
HR will go mobile, and self-service will be a widespread
Pure HR transactions are becoming automated, and HR specialists
who provide expertise within areas such as talent management,
leadership development or analytics will grow their roles
and provide serious business value.
an exclusive interview with HR Matters, Messer elaborated on these
HR Matters : Do you have any statistics or survey reports
you can point to on the rise of self-service?
Messer : In this day and age, there are over 4 billion
mobile internet users and 1 billion PC internet users in the world.
Anita Letnik’s white paper on ‘The Consumerisation of
HR’ states that new HR professionals are technology savvy
and incorporate this technology in their everyday work as a means
of communication with current and future staff.
If we consider the process of leave management (absence), experience
demonstrates that two thirds of manual administrative transactions
can be automated through self-service, resulting in the following
qualitative and quantitative benefits:
Benefits for the employee:
a. No need to search for paper forms;
b. Faster, more direct communication;
c. No ’hand-off' times;
d. Access from anywhere.
for the manager:
a. Better view of team absence;
b. Better tracking of absence.
for HR staff:
a. No manual re-entry of absence data;
b. Better and faster tracking of absence, with on time notifications;
c. Increased clarity on remaining time accounts.
The major long-term trend in HR management is to decentralise administrative
and service functions via HR self-service solutions. This will enable
employees and managers to handle most of their role-base data and
By enabling Employee and Manager Self-Service (ESS/MSS) in an organisation,
it will dramatically drive down costs and limit the administration
of HR staff. At that time, HR contributes actively to the efficiency
ratios and acts like a real business partner.
It is key to deliver an intuitive and ergonomic interface to the
people in every HRO process. The table below (which is available
on our website) shows that Tier 0 allows an HR personnel to solve
66 per cent of every employee or manager request by providing direct
access (24/7) to HR data.
NGA TIERED MODEL. COPYRIGHT NORTHGATE ARINSO
time goes by, HR self-service will become a thing of the past, with
employees being able to access content and perform HR transactions
the same way they can on Amazon.com or other self- service providers.
HR Matters : Do you see the shift from generalist to specialist
as a cyclical one ie will we revert to becoming generalists at some
point in the future?
Messer : Human resources as a corporate support function
dates back to the 1960s. At that time, many employers believed that
a more strategic approach to workforce management was necessary
in order to gain competitive edge. Over the years, the function
of HR has continuously evolved. I believe the shift from generalist
to specialist is part of the evolution of HR.
In 2012, we are now experiencing the Digital Revolution; a switch
from analog and mechanical technology to digital technology. This
began in the 1980s and in 1996, the Internet was unleashed. At this
point of time, it is unheard of, for companies to be in business
and not to be on the Internet. Our entire communications system
has become interactive, integrated, always on, real time, seamless
and available at any part of the world. As a result, the HR functions
will have to change as well.
Moving forward, HR will be remote, mobile, social, automated, specialised
and far smaller than in the past. This results in
the need for HR to be specialised as all the general work will be
HR Matters : Self-service takes care
of a lot of the transactional work. What areas do you see organisations
honing in on now as a result of this increase in automation and
reliance on technology?
Messer : With the advancement
of technology, many human tasks that can be automated will be automated
because they are cheaper, more reliable and less error-prone. Workforce
administration, for one, will be fully automated. Employees will
be able to apply for leave from their mobile phone and this can
be easily monitored and managed by HR staff. Digital HR access will
give HR the capability to follow and measure interaction with managers
and employees accurately at every stage with the ability to influence
and track processes in order to optimise service delivery.
Employees will be able to access their information at any point
of time and perform all HR transactions on the go. This will enable
the HR staff to reduce inefficiencies, thus ensuring transparency
and compliance. HR will then focus on value creation, flawless execution
and a simplified operating
Messer is the President, Asia Pacific, Middle East
and Africa (APMEA) at NorthgateArinso. A proven senior executive
with more than 25 years of international experience in High
Technology companies building and directing businesses for
global companies in Europe and Asia Pacific, Messer has held
numerous P&L and high impact revenue driving leadership
positions with industry leaders such as NGA, Red Hat, EMC,
Deloitte, SAP and IBM.
is recognized as an executive with broad sales and operations
abilities managing organisations with +1000 employees consistently
meeting and exceeding goals and expectations. An experienced
public speaker and media spokesperson with excellent communication
skills and proven multicultural and multilingual background,
he has lived and worked in Asia for more than 18 years. Messer
is based in Singapore.