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All change in the HR department

From the National Computing Centre, Manchester UK.
Issued 28th January 2010

Change is much in evidence for the HR department as it seeks to align its structure with the evolving business environment. In the past year alone 36% of HR departments have undergone a significant change in their structure with a further 32% having experienced this in the last 1-2 years. That's according to new research undertaken by NCC's Evaluation Centre, an interactive online service guiding IT buyers in the selection and use of business software, services and technology.

The survey finds that the key drivers for this re-structuring are to deliver services more cost-effectively (49%) - the HR department is not immune from the cost cutting affecting most businesses - and to reposition HR to more effectively address changes in line with the wider organisational model (46%).
With this change of emphasis, it is vital that HR departments have the necessary systems in place to achieve their objectives. However, a third of respondents say their current IT systems either do not meet their requirements adequately (30%) or not at all (3%).

This level of dissatisfaction and the need to re-focus the HR department is reflected in the fact that 28% of organisations plan to replace their HR systems and 19% are looking to implement upgrades.

Steve Fox, Evaluation Centre Managing Director, commented: "The pressure is very much on HR departments to become more strategic and to develop a structure that delivers cost-effective services to the business."

Organisations are also enthusiastic about the potential of self-service HR applications, whereby employees use a corporate intranet or the internet to make enquiries about topics such as holiday entitlement and to update contact details.

To date, about 42% of organisations have adopted self-service applications, with a further 20% planning to do so in the future.

We asked respondents to rate what they see as the benefits of introducing self-service operation using a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 equates to 'not important' and 5 to 'very important'.

The main perceived benefit is that data is entered more accurately (4.5) since it is input directly by individuals and automatically verified by the system. It also reduces the HR administrative burden (4.3) so that they are free to concentrate on other activities. Individuals also have more immediate control of their own information (3.9) as both employees and managers have rapid access to online data and can update items such as holidays and overtime hours directly.

Home working has been promoted both as a way of improving the individual's work/life balance and also in allowing the organisation to make cost savings by reducing the need for office space. Over half the companies (53%) have introduced home working, with 19% actively promoting its adoption and 34% having a defined policy in place. A further 6% are planning to introduce it and 6% are evaluating its adoption, but 30% of organisations have no plans to introduce a home working policy.

Flexible working is another option that allows employees to tailor their own working patterns, within company guidelines, to suit their individual needs. Over a quarter of companies (28%) are actively promoting flexible working, with a further 32% offering the option to employees. An additional 6% plan to introduce the option, while 6% are evaluating it but 22% have no plans to implement a flexible working environment.

Survey Statistics:

For this study, we asked over 100 companies for their opinions on a number of issues relating to the development of their HR systems. Among the market sectors represented are public sector (14%), IT & telecoms (14%), banking & finance (11%), distribution & logistics (11%) and chemical & pharmaceutical (10%).

The respondents represent a spread of different sized organisations with 14% having in excess of £5 billion turnover, 5% in the £1 billion to £5 billion bracket and 15% in the £500 million to £1 billion range.

In the mid-market 25% have between £100 million and £500 million turnover, and 20% £50 million to £100 million.

At the smaller end, 11% have a turnover of between £10 million and £50 million and 10% £5 million to £10 million.

The survey is available from

About The National Computing Centre (NCC)
The National Computing Centre (NCC) helps IT decision-makers deliver effective solutions to business problems by bringing together users, experts and vendors to share experiences and develop best practices. We are a non profit distributing organisation.

About the Evaluation Centre
The Evaluation Centre ( is an interactive service for end users and consultants to assist them in the procurement process for software, services and technology.

Press enquiries:
For more information please contact Steve Fox on 0870 908 8767 or email or Cliff Mills on 0870 908 8767 or email

Press Contact
Michael Dean
National Computing Centre
Oxford House, Oxford Road
Manchester M1 7ED

Tel: +44 (0)161 242 2121
Mob: 07703 501 129

NCC Weekly News 29 Jan 2010




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