For Asia, significant changes in HR seen

By: - Reporter / @amyremoINQ
/ 09:58 PM October 29, 2013

ABOUT A third of companies based in Asia Pacific are anticipating significant changes in their human resources departments over the next couple of years, as they seek greater efficiencies while they improve processes within the function.

These companies are also seen to continue investing in new HR technology, such as mobile applications, and plan to review their processes, according to annual survey global professional services company Towers Watson.


The 16th annual HR Service Delivery and Technology survey, which was conducted in the first quarter of this year, polled HR and HR-IT executives from 1,025 organizations in 32 countries.

Of the companies surveyed, 578 are based in the Asia-Pacific region, of which 65 are from the Philippines. Two-thirds of respondents were large and midsized organizations with more than 5,000 employees.


Based on the survey, a third of respondents (33 percent) will make changes in their HR structure by yearend. Of these companies, nearly 73 percent are doing so to realize further operational efficiencies, while just over half (52 percent) are doing so to improve quality.

“We’re seeing elsewhere in the world that companies are carefully examining both their HR structures and the way HR services are being delivered. And Asia is no different: There’s a need to review, refine and enhance for the function,” said Robert Zampetti, director of Towers Watson’s Asia Pacific HR Service Delivery practice.

“What is really interesting is the continued trend toward replacing core HR systems, and a willingness to invest in new technology and partners with a growing shift toward software-as-a-service,” Zampetti said.

HR service delivery is in a state of change, Zampetti said. This means that companies can change the game by modifying their structure, rethinking long-held processes, adopting new technologies and processes, and extending capabilities to the organization via manager self-service and shared services.

“In the end, it means using new concepts, approaches and technology to provide better HR services,” Zampetti said.

For the Asia-Pacific region, the survey showed that HR technology spending remains steady and strong despite cost reductions in other areas of HR.

More than half of organizations (53 percent) indicated their investment in HR technology this year would match that of last year, while 27 percent will either increase or significantly increase their HR technology investments. Almost a third (31 percent) of the Asia-Pacific companies surveyed plan to implement or are in the process of implementing a new HR management system.


HR is also reportedly catching up to the mobile technology trend. Nearly half (46 percent) of respondents now provide mobile access via smartphone to employees, with iPhone (60 percent), Blackberry (35 percent) and Android phone (32 percent) being the devices supported.

Less than a fifth of companies (17 percent) provide tablet devices, with the iPad (51 percent) and the Android tablet (19 percent) as the preferred devices. A number of the companies surveyed (12 percent) operate a “bring your own device” policy.

HR-enabled applications however were found to be in their infancy. Only 13 percent in the Asia-Pacific region currently use mobile applications for HR purposes. This trend is expected to accelerate, albeit at a moderate pace, as 13 percent of companies plan to offer HR-enabled applications in the next 12 to 18 months.

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TAGS: Asia, Business, hr technology, human resources development, mobile apps, Towers Watson
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