Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Interesting HR Tool

Operations Scanner(TM) Helps Improve Human Resources to Better Support Company Goals
As pressure mounts to better support their organization’s strategic objectives, human resources (HR) functions are seeking ways to assess and improve their own operations and ultimately deliver what management needs to get the job done. A newly upgraded measurement and diagnostic tool, Mercer’s Operations Scanner™ , can help by capturing critical and quantifiable insights into how HR operates day to day. Those insights, together with the expertise of Mercer’s consultants, are helping HR functions around the world build both a business case and an action plan for transforming the function to better support their company’s overall business goals. First released more than nine years ago as an activity-based survey collecting quantitative data on more than 300 HR activities, Operations Scanner evaluated the time and resources spent by HR in order to identify areas of cost savings. The new and more comprehensive Web version provides a rich assortment of data indicating, among other things, how an HR organization allocates both its labor and non-labor resources. It also reveals the value employees and managers place on the services provided by HR, and how the function’s complexity affects how it delivers services to these important customer groups. According to Todd Kremer, global product manager for Operations Scanner, "Operations Scanner has evolved into a comprehensive tool measuring the effectiveness of HR operations over time. With the new version of the tool, Mercer is able to view the data in a number of different ways and base its analysis on reports that allow HR functions to evaluate and improve their operations from a variety of angles.” Mr. Kremer says that generally it takes four to six weeks to conduct a comprehensive analysis using Operations Scanner and link it to other data streams such as interview feedback and process/IT audits. During that time, Mercer works with companies to: customize the survey questions and administer it - electronically - to internal HR staff and their customers (management, employees, etc.) within the company; analyze the current state findings; highlight opportunities to improve by modeling "what if scenarios"; and help the organization create an action plan to improve the HR function. "There is real value in using Operations Scanner to assess your HR function,” says James Woodward, vice president and director of corporate human resources at Media General, Inc., a diversified communications company and one of more than 150 firms that have used Operations Scanner. "The data helps us promote the necessary change in our organization. We re-administer it periodically to demonstrate progress.” The information developed through Operations Scanner includes a Job Redesign Report, which captures whether the HR organization has staff in the right job levels performing the appropriate activities. A Value and Effectiveness Report uses customer feedback to prioritize and improve process redesign and new technology implementation to meet customer requirements and achieve the greatest return on investment. Mercer’s exclusive Modeler capability helps to develop service delivery options and organization structure changes using real data. It also demonstrates how changes, such as outsourcing or a merger/acquisition, would affect the organization. "The upgraded Operations Scanner is a powerful tool, examining HR operations through a number of lenses,” says Mike Theaker, global leader of Mercer’s HR Effectiveness consulting business. "It measures improvements in the human resource function over time and that allows HR leaders to demonstrate the positive impact the changes are having across the organization.” Mr. Theaker added that the insights gleaned via Operations Scanner are particularly valuable for organizations that have just named a new HR leader and for those experiencing a major business transaction like a merger or acquisition. According to Mr. Kremer, "The primary purpose of using the tool is to help organizations identify whether the right people are doing the right things in the right way to support the HR function’s ability to contribute to overall business success.” For more information about Mercer’s Operations Scanner and how it can improve HR functions, or to view a Flash demo of the upgraded tool, visit About Mercer Mercer is a leading global provider of consulting, outsourcing and investment services. Mercer works with clients to solve their most complex benefit and human capital issues, designing and helping manage health, retirement and other benefits. It is a leader in benefit outsourcing. Mercer’s investment services include investment consulting and multi-manager investment management. Mercer’s 17,000 employees are based in more than 40 countries. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc., which lists its stock (ticker symbol: MMC) on the New York, Chicago and London stock exchanges. For more information, visit

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