The association for the HR industry marks its 10th birthday with a reflection on how the market has evolved.
By Debbie Bolla
When birthdays creep up on the calendar, don’t we all take a step back and reassess? It’s often a time to reflect where we have come from, what we’ve achieved, and what it will take to get to the next level in our lives.
As the Human Resources Outsourcing Association (HROA) neared its 10-year anniversary, the leadership team knew the HR industry had been evolving, and the association had been growing right along with it. Enter the launch of the HRO Today Services and Technology Association.
“The HRO Today Services and Technology Association combines the best team of industry expert board members, the best research, and the largest network of practitioners in the HR outsourcing industry,” says Elliot Clark, CEO of SharedXpertise, the owners of the association and this magazine. “The broader focus will allow us to both serve this constituency and add new networks in other HR services and the important HR technology industry.“
Launched in 2003 when HR outsourcing was in its infancy, the group’s mission was to bring together members of the industry to network and share best practices. And while that
is still at the heart of the HRO Today Services and Technology Association, outsourcing is now a service delivery vehicle that is reaching second- and third-generation iterations, with growth triggered by experience, knowledge, and ever- changing technology. It’s time for the association to reflect the progress HR has made and act on it. Once a strictly administrative function, the path is moving more and more toward strategic service delivery.
The focus of the HRO Today Services and Technology Association is dedicated to:
• Professional development;
• Peer-to-peer networking opportunities; and
• Topical service and technology promotions.
The community is made up of HR executives and practitioners, providers, advisors, investors, and technology firms. There is a global advisory board providing insight and direction, and then there are three regional advisory boards to target specific geographies, including North America, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and AsiaPacific (APAC). Bringing each component of the HR equation together allows members to earn an all-encompassing perspective on process.
“I think the unique thing about the HRO Today Services and Technology Association is that the association has brought together practitioners, advisors/consultants, and providers (services and technology) into one space,” says Kevin McDonald, vice president of BPO governance at The E. W. Scripps Company, and association member since 2007, holding the leadership role of vice chair. “The ability to gain perspective of folks representing all facets has been and continues to be valuable to me as a member.”
The association offers a platform for practitioners and providers to connect and learn from one another. “The [association] in Asia Pacific has provided a forum for Cartus and our valued clients in the region to hear firsthand from other HR outsourcing thought leaders and also to showcase and gain increased market visibility for our expertise and value proposition,” notes Rob Line, vice president of client services APAC for Cartus.
Jill Goldstein, Accenture’s global practice lead, talent and HR outsourcing, informs that the tone of the association is highly collaborative without any undercurrents of sales pressure or hidden agendas. She says that buyers and providers have real discussions about relevant issues and produce thought-provoking conclusions.
The content is designed to enable HR to elevate its workforce productivity. Best practices are shared through open forums, industry events, networking, and webinars.
“The ability to discuss issues with folks in similar industry, organizations of similar size, similar HR service delivery landscape has benefited me greatly over the years,” says McDonald. “You can always find someone you can relate to in some way and share successful practices, or non-successful experiences you can avoid.”
And the knowledge is transferable. “We have certainly taken some of the ideas from networking and discussions with other members forward into our own governance and operating procedures,” says Darren Bartholomew, head of HR planning and information systems for UK Selex ES.
Goldstein says that the association offers a channel for sharing and learning, as well as testing and developing ideas, which in turn plays an essential role in annual talent and HR strategy planning.
Networking events, including the annual HRO Today Forum North America, APAC, and Europe, are a path to exchange ideas and foster mutually beneficial relationships.
“Allegis Group Services finds the in-person networking opportunities to be the most valuable,” says Bruce Morton, head of innovation for the company. “At the annual Forum, we have the opportunity to step outside of our daily routine and connect with our peers on long-term goals, current pain points, and innovative ideas. The benefit of collaborating in-person ultimately generates long-term relationships and partnerships within every industry vertical.”
Valerie Egan, head of resourcing North America for Linde, has attended the HRO Today Forum North America for the past few years, and says the networking opportunities prove most advantageous. “Last year at the HRO Today Forum North America, a speed dating session was held for buyers to get to know each other and share issues,” she recalls. “I found this valuable because I made connections with peers who are experiencing the same things and I was able to pick their brain to see how they dealt with the same issues.”
“For 2014, our HRO Today Forums will bring the same content and discussions that are covered in the association’s Thought Leadership Councils, bringing better continuity of the right topics to the right audience,” says Faye Holland, global executive director for the HRO Today Services and Technology Association. “Our provider members will be able to host their own user group meetings while at the same time educating the market on the most salient content.”
While a broad HR education and knowledge sharing is offered through the HRO Today Services and Technology Association, the Thought Leadership Councils allow for members to zero in on issues directly applicable to their specific expertise.
“The Thought Leadership Councils allow participants to key in on particular areas of interest,” says McDonald. “The HR space is very broad and the ability to pick a specific area
to network, share successful practices, and help others is a great opportunity with the councils.”
There are seven thought leadership councils with the goal to drive professional development:
• Better practices
• Engaged workforce
• Evidence-based HR
• Talent acquisition
Bartholomew describes the Thought Leadership Councils as an open forum or think tank of sorts that encourages the exchange of ideas. Practitioners and providers alike can meet to discuss certain topics and share best practices in a relaxed and confidential setting, he says.
“The [Thought Leadership Council for Buyers] gives access to fellow practitioners on all stages of the HRO lifecycle, from those just starting out on the journey to seasoned buyers in second- and third-generation contracts,” he explains.
The HRO Today Service and Technology and Association also recognizes the good work of the HR industry every year through its awards program.
“Winning the Asia Pacific regional relationship awards for consecutive years has provided additional external recognition for Cartus in the region and illustrates the pride we have in our continually-advancing client relationships,” says Line.
This year the theme is Be Informed: Recognizing Great Business Outcomes in HR. HR knows that with proper budget and resources it can develop a business operating model and metrics to deliver a productive workforce and competitive edge. Nominations should demonstrate how HR drives the overall success of business through growth and profit.
Submissions are due Friday, February 28. The global winners will be announced at the award gala at the HRO Today Forum North America, and the regional award winners will be presented during the Forum program.
See the new HRO Today Services and Technology Association website for more information (www.hrotoday.com/association).
Full disclosure: In November 2013, the then trustees of the HROA voted to rename and reassign the association to HRO Today Services and Technology Association through the owners of SharedXpertise, who also publish this magazine.
Global Board of Advisors
- Jeanne MacDonald, Futurestep
- Jeff Croyle, ISG
- Jill Goldstein, Accenture
- Kevin McDonald, The E.W. Scripps Company
- Mike Andrus, Catholic Health Initiatives
- Rebecca Callahan, Randstad Sourceright
- Rick Haviland, Allegis Talent2
- Terrence, McCrossan ADP
- Denis Brousseau, IBM
Regional Board of Advisors
Europe, Middle East, and Africa
- Darren Bartholomew, Selex Galileo
- Gary Madden, BP
- Steve Riley, Accenture
- Seb O’Connell, Randstad Sourceright
- Phil Cooper, Allegis Talent2
- Sarah Seabury, ISG