Close to half of the organizations in a recent survey intend to change their HR structure either this year or next, according to results released today.

Professional services company Towers Watson says that, of the 628 global firms surveyed, 276, or 44%, intend to close out 2013 with a different HR layout than they currently have. This is a marked increase over last year, when only 28% of respondents were planning changes in the same time frame.

Of those planning changes, seven out of 10 will either switch to (or switch back to) or increase a shared services setup. Another 26% intend to increase or begin outsourcing HR functions.

“Organizations now realize that it pays to develop capabilities and resources in-house for many core HR services,” says Tom Keebler, global leader of Towers Watson’s HR Service Delivery and Technology practices. “Shared services allow companies to maintain better quality control and create and adapt to new processes more quickly.”

In addition, 84% of responding organizations intend to either match or increase last year’s investments in HR technology. Eight out of 10 either have or are in the process of offering an HR portal.

When asked what was driving charges, nearly two-thirds of those planning shifts and adjustments said they want realize further efficiencies. Approximately half are seeking to capture synergies among processes and investments, improve quality and lower costs.

“The bottom line is that HR is changing, with an eye toward delivering services more effectively and efficiently,” says Keebler.

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