• 26% of respondents describe their HR function as ‘generalist’ reliant on spreadsheets and emails for operations
  • Only 18% cite their HR functions are business-led
  • 50.9% of HR professionals attribute lack of resources or time to implement successful HR transformation

An HR industry technology and analytics gap is evident after a survey of CEOs and HR professionals – all in businesses with over 1000 people – shows that 1 in 4 say that spreadsheets and emails are key to their operations.

Whilst over half of the respondents (56%) say their HR department uses self-service and automation as part of a line manager-led process, more than a quarter of HR professionals (26%) still depend on outdated tools to conduct and maintain their operations. In comparison, less than one in five (18%) of respondents have an agile and business-led HR function that empowers managers and facilitates continual improvement.

Conducted in partnership with the Empowering People Group, AdviserPlus’ HR Transformation Conundrum Research analysed answers from 100 C-Suite leaders and 120 HR managers from businesses with 1000+ employees. The aim was to understand the drivers of HR transformation and the barriers to implementation.


Michael Campbell, Commercial Director at AdviserPlus, said:

“It’s clear that although the majority of organisations are at the mid-point of the HR transformation curve, a quarter still rely on siloed and outdated solutions, such as spreadsheets and emails, to manage people data. It’s surprising that, in spite of the digital transformation acceleration that’s taken place in the last couple of years, a significant proportion of large enterprises still lack the connectivity and data visibility needed to deliver a data-driven approach to people strategies.

“With a quarter of respondents considering their HR functions to be “generalist”, this demonstrates an urgent need to address the skills, technology and analytics gaps that will enable the function to become business-driven and agile.”


When asked about the barriers to implementing successful HR transformation within their organisations, half of HR managers (50.9%) cite a lack of resources or time, although only 34% of C-Suite agreed with them. This creates a conundrum because investing in HR transformation will enable more time for HR to focus on strategic priorities, while remaining reliant on manual spreadsheets limits insights and the speed with which decisions can be made.

The C-suite also ranks ‘improving people analytics for data-driven decision making’ as the next priority of successful HR transformation, while HR managers rank this number 6 out of 7 in order of priority, so there is a disconnect in opinion that could impact strategic decisions.


However, when asked about the components of a successful HR transformation, both C-Suite and HR managers agreed on the benefits – efficiencies driven by automation and improved data visibility.

“It is interesting to note that ‘Reducing the cost to serve’ is the lowest on the list of priorities for both groups, suggesting that organisations are not prioritising cutting back investment in people teams with their transformation initiatives, even though cost efficiencies are one of the key benefits delivered by effective HR transformation.

“It is encouraging to see that respondents are aligned in their understanding of the benefits that HR transformation can deliver and that cost-cutting in the HR function is the lowest on their list of priorities. This will help accelerate decision-making about investment in people teams and HR transformation solutions as HR leaders can set clear objectives and measure success against these benefits”, concluded Campbell.


For more information, visit HR Transformation Conundrum Research.

Lisa Baker

Author Lisa Baker

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