The topic was first brought up Tuesday morning (November 7) by Reg Bull, senior vice president of global transformation at Unilever, who in his presentation talked about how his company had set up an "HR academy" for its remaining 900 HR managers.
In an interview following his presentation, Bull explained how each of these managers goes through 100 hours of online and face-to-face training on the skills needed to be focused on the business.
In his presentation Wednesday morning, Ikea HR services director Albert Martens said he intends to retrain those HR managers who will need it now that the Swedish retailer has outsourced its payroll and HR administration to ADP.
The company has 600 HR managers focused on administrative duties, and hopes to reduce that number by 25 percent.
"But we don’t want to lay off these people. We want to train them for new positions," he tells Workforce Management.
Similarly, Karim Rasched, business change manager for Marriott Hotels in the U.K., talked during his presentation about how he has focused on retraining his HR staff to act as vendor managers.
"They have to learn new skills to deal with [HRO provider] Hewitt and understand what they are about," he says.
Most attendees felt the speakers’ pain. In a real-time poll at the conference, 55 percent said that HRO creates a skills gap within their organizations.
But there don’t seem to be many resources for HRO buyers to use to help them train their HR managers to be "business partners," experts say. For this reason, the HRO Association, a group of vendors and buyers, has launched a training series and benchmarking program aimed to help organizations retrain their staffs, says Richard Crespin, executive director of HROA.
Some of the vendors that have consultant arms are offering training, but they are not including it as part of their HRO contracts, says Helen Neale, a business process outsourcing analyst in the London office of NelsonHall. Instead they are charging providers extra for that level of service, she said.
When asked whether she thinks that buyers will get smart and pressure providers to include this service in their contracts, Neale said, "I hope so."
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