Why HR’s Workload is Getting Heavier

February 3, 2017 Teresa Stull

Business leaders expect more from HR than ever before. HR leaders need to be strategic business partners, not just administrators. Effective HR leaders have bottom line accountabilities and must constantly be working towards innovation. This is no easy task.

HR leaders are expected to drive innovation and business results, all while maintaining compliance, managing employee forms, and handling questions from internal clients on benefits, PTO balances, and paycheck deductions. It’s no wonder most HR professionals can relate with the feeling of being stretched too thin.

The HR profession is growing in complexity with each passing year. Bloomberg BNA reported in 2009 that the ratio of HR staff to employee head count was 1:100. In 2016 that ratio jumped to 1.4:100. In addition, 62% of HR departments had at least one new activity added to their list of responsibilities, while only 20% reported a responsibility was removed.

Why is it, when new technology has been introduced in the market to improve HR, it’s actually growing more complex each year?

Complex Labor Laws, Complex HR
One reason HR professionals are busier is the complexity of labor laws. With new legislation being passed continually at the federal, state, and local levels, keeping your company compliant takes more time than ever. Despite their best attempts at being proactive, HR leaders find themselves behind on or unaware of all legislation that affects employers.  The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) alone manages more than 180 labor laws affecting about 10 million employers and 125 million workers. In addition, there are laws from the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC), IRS tax codes, and the uncertainty of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Individual municipality legislation only compounds this complexity. In the past, federal and state departments were the only administrators of labor laws. But now cities like San Francisco and New York City are beginning to implement their own unique laws. Some are calling this trend “The Rise of the City State,” and it’s going to make staying current with labor laws difficult for multi-state and multi-city workforces.

What Technology Can’t Do
Over the last five years, numerous technologies have been introduced to support HR that promise to automate processes and create efficiencies. However, as companies invest in HR, payroll, and benefits administration technologies, they also need an applications-savvy individual managing and training others for each solution. Ultimately, utilizing the sleekest application will not solve all of HR’s pain points. It’s great technology, combined with strong people and thorough processes that allow an HR leader to function efficiently.

Take a Moment to Breathe
It takes much more than a single person and a few technology solutions to meet the demands of an average HR department. But a large HR team is not the reality of most small and medium size companies. 

Fortunately, many companies have found success in partnering with an outsourcing solution. HR departments can augment their team with a highly skilled and experienced team of HR, benefits, tax, and payroll experts. Those experts can handle the compliance and administrative tasks so HR leaders can focus on innovative ways to attract, engage, and ultimately, retain employees. In today’s business ecosystem, outsourcing is more than a clever way to save money and time, it is becoming the best way for HR to drive company growth.


About the Author

Teresa Stull

Teresa is a People Operations Advisor for Zuman. She joined Zuman after serving the past twenty years in human resources with Kachina Semiconductor Services, ATMI, FaulknerUSA, Tech Spray, OneSource Solutions, Apex Global Partners, Gallagher, Residential Credit Solutions, and SuperiorHR. Teresa is PHR certified and has a BS in Business Administration from the University of Texas.

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