Hackett Study: Business Clients Highly Dissatisfied with HR

Years of across-the-board cuts during the recession and its aftermath have left companies’ business-services departments–such as IT, finance and procurement–badly weakened in terms of talent and skills, says the latest “HR Book of Numbers” report from the Hackett Group. Even HR itself has not been spared in this regard, according to the report.

The report, which is titled Cracks in the Foundation: Closing the Critical Skills Gap Undermining Business Capabilities and is based on data gleaned from information provided by nearly 150 large companies in a recent Hackett performance study, lays much of the blame for this on HR, which it says is failing to deliver adequate levels of talent-management support. As a result, the report finds, department leaders at these support functions are “highly dissatisfied” with the level of support they receive from HR on talent issues.

The report finds that the department leaders say they’re getting talent-management support from HR less than 35 percent of the time, on average, while the percentage of companies saying HR provides them with a full range of services is at 12 percent or less. Companies in the study said they were either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with HR support for business services an average of over 70 percent of the time. Companies were the most unhappy with the HR support they receive for collaborationa and knowledge-sharing (79 percent dissatisfied/very dissatisfied) and retention (70 percent dissatisfied/very dissatisfied).

HR is not entirely to blame for these high levels of dissatisfaction, the report’s authors note. HR departments at many companies have taken hits of their own in staffing and budget cuts while struggling to adjust to their changing mission of “enabling business performance.” Few organizations have a “dedicated business partner role” responsible for figuring out the talent-management needs of functions such as IT and procurement, according to the report.

Moving towards a solution requires HR and business-support leaders to work together, writes Michel Janssen, Hackett’s chief research officer:

Business-services managers must take the lead in specifying their needs, and taking accountability for results for talent management. HR must provide comprehensive process and administrative support, methods and tools, training and guidance to function leaders.