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The Modern Duality of HR: Centralized and Decentralized


New human capital management software is changing the discussion around human resources. Experts used to argue about whether centralization or decentralization was more effective and better for managing costs. Today, however, technology is helping to centralize information and decentralize task management. This trend is giving companies better visibility into their data. At the same time, staff are able to quickly and easily complete many essential HR tasks on their own, increasing employee satisfaction and minimizing employers' administrative burden.

This shift is an important way that workforce management technology is changing how companies do business. Most companies today have some kind of software in place for HR, including time management, payroll, recruiting, and other essential functions. Many have already moved to Web-based systems, and the trend is continuing toward single systems that merge everything together to share highly accurate data in real-time. The ability to immediately access information anytime and anywhere makes it easier than ever to make data-driven decisions.

At the staff level, workforce management technology has also dramatically changed people's experiences. Administrators and HR managers have likely eliminated a lot of low-value, routine work as a direct result of being able to open up the data for controlled access by supervisors and/or employees. Self-service can empower the workforce, while minimizing simple questions or basic requests for assistance with updating information. Managers can log-in to view scheduling, time off requests, and much more as needed, while staff can update routine information, view their benefits coverage, and handle work related to time submission.

Meanwhile, many companies are adopting mobile tools. From submitting time sheets to applying for jobs, workers want the ability to do everything from a mobile phone. People often prefer just to login and do what they need to do, or get the information they need, without having to call someone on the phone or send them an email. Examples of tasks where self-service is playing a bigger role include job applications and interview scheduling, forms with electronic signatures, time punches, expense reporting, and payroll. Companies that adopt mobile tools can benefit from this increased self-sufficiency, as things get done faster and their staff can focus on high value-added activities.

While workforce management is becoming decentralized, companies have never enjoyed so much centralized access to their data. Better access to data is making it possible to share information across organizations and departments and use data-driven insights to make essential business decisions in real-time. The lag that once existed on any subject has disappeared, from determining the status of the application process for a specific position to reporting time and attendance data. Companies have never been as efficient as they are today at completing internal processes and accessing the data in order to accurately grade their performance.


This website contains articles posted for informational and educational value. Paychex is not responsible for information contained within any of these materials. Any opinions expressed within materials are not necessarily the opinion of, or supported by, Paychex. The information in these materials should not be considered legal or accounting advice, and it should not substitute for legal, accounting, and other professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant.
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