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With the economic squeeze affecting all businesses, now is the time for human resource departments to shine by helping their organizations cut costs, find efficiencies and support worker productivity by reviewing ways to streamline IT processes say Watson Wyatt technology experts. “HR technology is ripe for review,” said Steve Hitzeman, senior leader in Watson Wyatt’s technology and administration solutions practice. “The goal is not only to find near-term efficiencies but also to ensure the organization is positioned for growth when economic conditions improve.” Watson Wyatt experts offered ways employers can use HR technology to manage the economic downturn more efficiently. Optimize HR operational and service delivery effectiveness by conducting a review of the current HR service delivery model. The move, which includes a mix of HR technology, call centers and vendors, can result in cost savings. According to experts, the relative effort HR spends on administration has not changed significantly because most HR departments may have adopted organizational models but did not follow up to effectively integrate different technologies. “Instead of simply rearranging the HR organization, companies can consolidate, integrate and streamline processes,” said Robert Crow, Watson Wyatt senior consultant in technology and administration solutions. Benchmark and review outsourced vendor contracts to ensure that there isn’t just a patchwork of applications and service providers that aren’t fully integrated or optimized. Watson Wyatt estimated that companies can realize savings of between 10% to 20% once the entire vendor relationship has been assessed. “By taking a step back and reviewing HR technologies, processes and vendor relationships, companies might be able to find hidden pockets of savings and ways to improve efficiencies without an enormous upfront cost,” said Crow. Web 2.0 technologies should be leveraged to create a “consumer-grade” experience as consistent, open communication and collaboration are more crucial than ever. However, experts find that while employees look to HR managers for help interpreting large quantities of information, the HR managers are struggling to stay connected with each other and their employee population. According to the consulting firm, leveraging Web 2.0 technologies-such as blogs, podcasts, wikis and shared team sites-is key to managing today’s information overload and engaging employees. With the generation currently entering the workforce having learned to communicate and collaborate using these tools, they expect the same “consumer-grade” experience at work. Watson Wyatt found that this can be achieved with corporate tools similar to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube available internally. –[email protected]

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