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IDear Workforce-I How Do You Make Service Centers Work

Possible reasons why an in-house service center could fail.
January 30, 2000
Related Topics: Service, HR Services and Administration, Dear Workforce

Dear Workforce:

We have a service center failing miserably and need help. My company has 2,000 employees worldwide. We have large government contracts and because they are very diverse both organizationally and geographically, the HR service center needs to be able to respond to a large array of issues.


Dear Lousy Service:

If the in-house service center isn't performing well, most likely it is because of insufficient expertise across the wide range of services HR must now provide. Because of the sheer number of services and their growing complexity, most corporations now outsource this difficult task.

These services include medical, eye care, dental, and relocation help, to name a few, and typically a different provider will be used for each need.

If a company has offices around the world, as this one seems to have, there can be additional problems stemming from the big differences in HR policy and practice that exist across borders. Finally, if the service center is staffed by just one person or a handful of professionals, the ability to handle the numerous and varied inquiries effectively is even more compromised.

If you chose to outsource, be aware of the potential downside. What is often sacrificed is flexibility in application of policy in the provision of services. Employees will also have to keep track of the separate service centers, especially if they have more than one inquiry at a time. The upside is the accuracy and in-depth knowledge made available by these specialist providers.

To find the right balance for your organization, begin with specific benchmarking of companies you admire, as well as those that are most similar to the one where you work.

SOURCE: Marilyn Kappel, ARC International, Aspen, Colorado, January 11, 2000.

E-mail your Dear Workforce questions to Online Editor Todd Raphael at, along with your name, title, organization and location. Unless you state otherwise, your identifying info may be used on and in Workforce magazine. We can't guarantee we'll be able to answer every question.


 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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