HR outsourcing evolves with specialized services

Collaboration among vendors, personalization for employees a reality as outsourcing matures
By Jean-François Potvin
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/18/2009

When human resources outsourcing made its debut in the 1990s, companies focused on moving transactional activities out the door to free up time for HR departments. Then call centres became popular to respond to queries from employees — another big time saver for in-house HR departments.

As the new millennium dawned, providers began offering web tools for HR applications. Online benefits enrolment was one of the first to be rolled out. From the employees’ perspective, this meant they still received information about HR programs in print or in person, but went to a website once a year to make their benefit choices.

Fast forward to 2009 and employers are looking to HR outsourcing to meet a wide variety of objectives, according to Hewitt’s HR Outsourcing Trends and Insights 2009 survey. While outsourcing continues to help ease the administrative burden of increasingly complex HR programs, companies also hope to lower costs, gain access to outside expertise, avoid making large investments in technology, improve service quality and enable HR to deliver greater value to the organization.