Federal government agencies and components vary in mission, size, location and structure. As a result, no one organization has the exact same needs when it comes to centralizing or outsourcing administrative functions – either through an internal delivery model or an external provider.
One of the first steps when considering a shared services operating model is to conduct a feasibility study to ensure that such a change would be beneficial for the organization. During the analysis, it is necessary to identify existing functions that could potentially move to shared services, the challenges associated with these functions if the agency maintains the status quo, and the anticipated future needs of the organization. Since not all administrative functions are suited for shared services, agencies should also distinguish which activities will remain as is and which activities will be supported through a shared services delivery model.
When it comes to human resource (HR) shared services, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has published materials to enable tough decision-making. OPM collected shared services and delivery catalogs from approved federal providers in an effort to increase awareness of available HR services for core and non-core services provided through IT systems and back-office support.
The HR Line of Business (HR LOB) services include the following and vary depending on provider:
- Core services: Personnel action processing, payroll processing and reporting, benefits processing and reporting, time and attendance, manager self-service, employee self-service.
- Non-core services: Staffing, recruiting, separation management, competency and performance management, position management, workforce and succession planning, learning administration, career development planning, workers and unemployment compensation, records management, issue management, labor cost allocation, payroll administration, benefits counseling, and HR assessments.
The catalogs also outline elements of each provider’s service delivery model, organizational and governance structures, workforce management, change control process, previous migration experience, and service level agreements to proactively answer the detailed questions of potential customers.
The decision to move to shared services can be a daunting task for most federal agency leaders, but accessing available resources and working with shared services experts can ease the effort. If done properly, a well-designed and tailored shared services transformation can improve the management and transparency of information as well as drive greater efficiency and cost savings from streamlined and simplified HR tasks.
For more information, visit the OPM Shared Services Catalog site at http://www.opm.gov/services-for-agencies/hr-line-of-business/shared-service-center-catalog/.