In spring 2013, the University of Washington engaged The Hackett Group, an independent research firm, to conduct a benchmarking analysis of its HR & Payroll functions. Hackett's sector and world-class comparison data comes from its client database. Assessments are based on more than 7,500 benchmarks and performance studies.
An extensive data collection effort helped us establish a baseline of UW's current costs for performing HR and payroll functions. Data was collected from a sample of 57 units that are representative of the diverse UW enterprise. Hackett then compared the UW’s data against data from high-performing organizations across all industries, and also against a smaller subset of organizations more similar to the UW. The results of this benchmarking effort helped illustrate the need for change.
Key findings from the study:
- UW's HR and payroll expenditures are low in comparison to others, but the UW is not delivering the depth and value of services as comparison sector organizations.
- UW's HR and payroll efforts are very focused on transactional processes, with relatively little focus on strategic efforts.
- Manual processes and lack of automation contribute to high error rates.
- Siloed or redundant activities exist in some processes. These efforts don't have the benefit of an overall UW approach.
- Heavy campus unit involvement is required in some processes. A significant amount of this work is being done by supervisors.
Key opportunities for improvement include:
- Focus HR/payroll expenditures on more value-add services.
- Better leverage technology to improve availability of data, support analysis of HR and payroll issues, enable better decision-making, minimize the manual nature of most transactions, decrease time required of decentralized unit staff to perform transactions.
- Standardize and automate to enable more consistent processes in compensation administration, time and attendance, data management, and HR reporting.
- Redistribute work and redesign processes to decrease level of effort managers and staff devote to HR/P transactions.