Potential Productivity Providers






Last month the New York Times wrote about some of the challenges economists are facing in explaining recent wage growth.[1]

While traditionally tied to productivity, wage growth has outpaced productivity recently but is still relatively low by historical measures.[2]

The writer concludes:

“The real mystery isn’t why wage growth is so low, but why productivity is so low.”

An illustration of the productivity plateau was published by Deloitte University Press in May.[3]

The Deloitte Global Economic Output article suggests three things have the potential to improve productivity:

  • infrastructure spending
  • tax reform, and
  • regulatory reform.

While only government administrations can affect tax and regulatory reform, businesses can ramp up infrastructure spending inside their own organizations for sure.

Indeed, Bersin by Deloitte research shows that one of the most impactful areas of investment right now may be revisiting and refreshing HR operational models and related enabling technologies.[4]

In our recent report, HR Service Operations: Solution Provider Landscape, we outline the key types of solutions available to automate HR service operations to help improve service efficiency, impact workforce effectiveness, and enhance the overall employee experience.

Ironically, many of these solutions grew out of the need to simplify access to the plethora of HR and workplace systems and services in place in companies today. [5]

In our time-starved world, these HR service operations tools help workers quickly complete transactions and answer questions in an era of rapid technological advancement and digital disruption (in many cases by incorporating artificial intelligence themselves.)

Too often past business infrastructure investments focused on driving productivity through pushing administrative tasks out of back office departments and onto front-line workers in the form of “self-service” solutions.

This shift may in fact be partially to blame for the overall declines in productivity in the last decade.

So while we can’t solve the regulatory and tax challenges facing our economies today, Bersin research suggests this new category of HR service operation solutions are key operational investments to consider to improve overall productivity of front-line workers and back-office support staff alike.

As many believe lack of wage growth underlies the growing inequality in our world, a simple set of solutions that could play such a significant role in our society deserve a closer look.

A WhatWorks® Brief is freely available that shares some of the common benefits and challenges of the different types of providers of these solutions.[6]

Subscribers to Bersin are welcome to read the full report and share their thoughts and questions on this topic with us at any time.




As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte Consulting LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of our legal structure. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

This publication contains general information only and Deloitte is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. Deloitte shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person who relies on this publication.


[1]The Question Isn’t Why Wage Growth Is So Low. It’s Why It’s So High,” The New York Times / Neil Irwin, May 27, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/26/upshot/the-question-isnt-why-wage-growth-is-so-low-its-why-its-so-high.html?_r=0

[2] Ibid.

[3] “United States: Wage growth evident, but productivity growth still missing,” Global Economic Outlook, Q2 2017, Deloitte University Press / Dr. Patricia Buckley, May 12, 2017, https://dupress.deloitte.com/dup-us-en/economy/global-economic-outlook/2017/q2-united-states.html?id=us:2em:3pa:economic-outlook:eng:dup:051417&elqTrackId=da1dc180ebc44582824e84e165833393&elq=c1903b79677541a5b26e7dce673e2c4c&elqaid=32094&elqat=1&elqCampaignId=7525

[4] “HR Service Operations: Solution Provider Landscape,” Bersin by Deloitte / Christa Degnan Manning, May 16, 2017,  http://www.bersin.com/Practice/Detail.aspx?docid=20906&mode=search&p=Tools-@-Technology

[5] “Sierra-Cedar 2016–2017 HR Systems Survey White Paper, 19th Annual Edition,” Sierra-Cedar / Stacey Harris and Erin Spencer, 2016, http://www.sierra-cedar.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2016/10/Sierra-Cedar_2016-2017_HRSystemsSurvey_WhitePaper-ExecSumm.pdf

[6] “WhatWorks Brief: Engaging Employees through Digital HR Service Operations,” Bersin by Deloitte / Christa Degnan Manning, May 16, 2017, http://www.bersin.com/Practice/Detail.aspx?docid=20907&mode=search&p=Tools-@-Technology

Christa Degnan Manning

Christa Degnan Manning leads Bersin by Deloitte’s solution provider research. In this role, she collaborates with Bersin and Deloitte colleagues across practices to identify and analyze software and service providers that support and sustain success in human resources, workforce enablement, and organizational effectiveness. Christa’s research and advisory work helps businesses align their workforce support strategies with the right third-party partners and governance models to deliver functional capabilities and employee experiences that support productivity, engagement, and workforce efficiency. She also helps solution providers map their capabilities and go-to-market activities with solution buyers’ and users’ critical needs. Christa draws on more than two decades of business-to-business market research, operational leadership, and global workforce experience. She holds a Master’s degree from the University of Massachusetts, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Barnard College, Columbia University, including studies at University College, University of London.

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