Human Resources

HR and People Analytics: when outsourcing makes sense

Lydia Watson

Your company culture is more than employee handbooks and brightly coloured motivational posters – it’s about your people. And that means outsourcing any aspect of your people analytics can feel counterintuitive.

Wouldn’t bringing in an agency, consultancy team, or even a freelancer disrupt the delicate balance? They won’t know about Pizza Thursdays or the multiple in-jokes about that one summer retreat two years ago. And your long-standing staff members might wonder why their contributions aren’t enough, or that they’re missing out on a new challenge.

Is the above always true? We don’t think so, and here’s why:

What is the role of HR in the workplace?

From the early days of ‘personnel administration’, HR teams have had quite the identity shift. Payroll and approving holidays may still be a big part of it, but the demand for strategic HR is ever-growing – that is, harnessing their unique organisational insights to drive real change.

No pressure, right? With 68% of HR professionals feeling overstretched, and HR managers at a higher risk of burning out, then the pressure to add tangible business benefit – on top of their many, many other duties – could prove overwhelming.

That’s not to say there’s a lack of expertise, passion, or understanding required for a strategic focus – simply that they need the right tools. 46% believed automation was essential for the future of HR, while 43% feared their organisation would slip behind when it came to technology advances – with 57% under too tight a budget to invest in this area.

The role of HR is changing – with a report showing 82% expect the position of HR director to completely change in the next decade – and we think outsourcing is a key part of that.

The history of HR outsourcing

It’s not a totally new concept, outsourcing HR responsibilities. In the past it was offshore call centres that companies used to cut costs, largely focused on administrative tasks. But that was a purely financial move – taking advantage of lower wages and labour standards.

The next move is a strategic, if not practical one. As the field itself has become multifaceted, requiring both wider and more specialised skill sets, it’s harder to find one person to ‘do it all’. Or, even find a team member to add a core strategic function: as not many professionals have had the opportunity to move from ‘HR generalist’ to ‘HR specialist’.

That’s why outsourcing is a necessity – especially when it comes to employee surveys, engagement, and wider people analytics. It can support your HR function, not replace it.

Why you should outsource your employee surveys

Did you know 50% of businesses outsource part of their HR function? The real question is which part to choose. On one end of the spectrum, handing over the administrative aspects like payroll frees up your in-house HR team for more strategic thinking. But what about the complex analysis that powerful strategy demands – wouldn’t support in this area be more effective?

Or why not both? Running your employee surveys through Qlearsite saves time and effort, but adds expert-level insights. And really, it makes sense on lots of levels:

  • Anonymity & Credibility: would your employees speak their mind on a survey you sent them? With in-house surveys, there’s always that sneaking suspicion that their answers could be traced back. Using a third party helps with that concern, and adds a level of ‘officialness’ – it’s easy to ignore internal emails from HR and leadership teams, but an external survey request can lead to more responses.
  • Benchmarking & Frameworks: ‘how long’s a piece of string’ comes to mind, but survey scores don’t mean much in isolation. Using a survey solution not only gives you potential access to industry benchmarks, but gives you a framework for benchmarking against yourself – tracking long-term improvements.
  • Time-Saving & Clear Actions: employee surveys take time – building, sending, chasing, chasing again, reviewing the results, understanding the data, connecting that to actions and outcomes, delivering the results. Outsourcing saves precious hours – which can be used to make changes, based on the actionable data.

Investing in people analytics makes sense

Your people are the key to success. So if you’re investing in any kind of HR function, then people analytics makes business sense – whatever type of organisation you are:

Benefits for start-ups and small companies

Start-up culture usually exists in the small gap between high-energy optimism, and the knowledge that 90% of them will fail – so knowing where to focus resources, but staying people-first, is crucial. So employee surveys, and people analytics more widely, are a sensible area to invest in.

Many small organisations won’t have an in-house HR team, leaning on semi-related, ‘softs skills’-related roles or senior management members to fulfill these functions. But that time cost isn’t worth paying while you’re trying to establish yourself. Gaining the skills and support you can get from outsourcing will help you nail company culture from the off – particularly key if you’re lucky enough to scale up…

Benefits for organisations in growth stages

While the impact of pandemic has been disastrous for many industries, some have thrived – ecommerce and subscription services, in particular.

Sudden growth means an influx of new hires – which puts an added pressure on HR teams due to the sheer workload, and pressure to uphold company culture, but it also means it’s more likely that onboarding practices can slip. Staying on top of that is hard, but technology that facilitates an honest conversation can help.

Benefits for enterprise-level businesses

For larger companies, outsourcing all HR functions is becoming less common. With more and more industries understanding the value of listening to their people, enterprise organisations have built large in-house teams – with individual roles focused on everything from employee engagement to diversity and inclusion.

But there’s one area where outsourcing is holding its value: “HR analytics and strategic consulting”. Handling swathes of complex data is something that’s more time-efficient to enlist an external company to do for you – and advising on what data means takes specialist knowledge. That’s a specialist knowledge that is hard to add with one in-house hire.

Qlearsite delivers the types of data that support HR practices

  • Expert insights: our advanced language analysis reads like a human, so you get insights equivalent to doing thousands of 1-2-1s – for real understanding
  • Actionable data: the insights we deliver, and the way we do so, give you a clear path forward – so you can focus on strategic planning, and make a tangible business impact
  • Time back: our platform makes building, branding, and sending surveys a painless process – with an easy way to keep an eye on response rates
  • Faster results: you don’t need to spend hours interpreting and formatting data – we quickly produce a downloadable Leader’s Report with change-focused   results

It’s time to start the conversation

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