HR Organisation of the Future

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As the expectation from organizations move more and more towards getting measurable business value from the HR function, it will become imperative to develop an HR delivery model which can fulfill the business goals as per business measurable success factors.

With this in mind , the under mentioned model is recommended, this model ensures that as an HR organization, it becomes the primary knowledge center of understanding the business context and how each aspect of the people strategy fits into the overall game plan for achieving business  goals. This model is also based on the premise that it is much more efficient and much more effective to have certain roles performed by individuals within the organization and some roles performed by individuals who reside outside of the organization. I am purposely refraining from using the term outsourcing.

By way of this model, we don’t intend to outsource the tasks to build-in operational efficiencies, but the intent is to move tasks to specialists who can provide the organization knowledge supremacy and not limit the entire exercise to a mere cost advantage.

Delivering to the CEO or the MD as the key stakeholder

The HR leader becomes the primary business partner for ensuring that the CEO achieves his or her business goals through the aligned people agenda. The tasks that the HR leader performs revolve around contributing to the strategic areas of HR and committing the organization to those. Depending upon the size of the organization, the HR leader can either have a head for a particular HR sub-function, or continue to manage that himself or herself. Especially in areas where specialist organizations are delivering the Strategic agenda. It is the HR leader who becomes the pivotal point for joining all dots when it comes to delivering the people agenda through various delivery arms (internal and external included).

Delivering to the Business Head as a key stakeholder

The business head is primarily supported by HR Business partner (HRBP). The tasks performed by the HRBP are centered around providing people advice to the business head and calling to action each of the HR delivery functions to help achieve the business objectives in their bespoke manner.

Delivering to employees as key stakeholders

The employees are supported by a combination of the HRBP, the line manager and the business head. The line managers work as grievance handling team, and support their team members on career planning. The HRBP works to ensure that the employee support services by way of operational systems are running smoothly and works with the business head to closely design and implement the career management plans.

So, what is the role of the HRBP?

The HRBP, contrary to popular practice won’t be generalists, they will be individuals who are pseudo specialists in almost all areas of HR. They are required to manage the compensation philosophy which would include structuring the organization properly by understanding the spans and layers for driving business results in the most optimum manner. They would be required to think through, design and have the training interventions delivered by respective specialists and in some cases, deliver themselves. They would be required to understand the culture and drive change if required. They would be required to identify talent, run talent management programs within their business, and most importantly have a strong capability building culture supported by systems and processes to ensure that line managers can run the entire process of managing their talent appropriately. With this kind of a system, the HRBP is more of an evangelist and a facilitator to run the people function for business by ensuring that the business head and line managers are capable of doing so.

The middle level and junior HRBP roles will need to be provided to specialist external organization which can support on areas like investigations, appeals, business specific dashboards and for running a lot of other employee engagement related activities.

How does talent acquisition structure itself?

The entire process of being an employer of choice and having a robust process for selecting talent is managed by a specialist in-house team. The process of creating an employee database, candidate engagement, resourcing administration should be managed by external specialist agencies. The key difference that I would like to point out is the aspect of closing the salary and having the final decision to take the hiring call, these unlike present practice should not be managed by the talent acquisition team or the HRBP or the hiring managers supervisor, it is the line manager who should give an offer and decide the compensation and take the final call in a hiring process. The ownership of delivery is a hiring manager, so the terms of engagement in terms of salary and in terms of which candidate will fit best, will have to be that of the hiring manager.

What does Learning & Development and Talent management do?

Areas which are focused on skill building, be-spoke training needs or behavioral interventions should be managed by external specialist organization and not by internal team. Leadership trainers, or facilitator who can make an impact on the culture should be part of the in-house team, more at the level of change initiators and change drivers. A large portion of talent management should be managed by the HRBP and the line managers themselves. Strategic talent management should either be managed by the HR leader or should appoint a resource to manage this depending on the size of the organization and the programme.

Is Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) any different?

Under normal circumstances the D&I agenda will fit into the L&D and talent management agenda as this is more of a cultural intervention. However, if an organization does have this as a separate team, then a lot of its tasks should be managed by the external specialist organization, with the strategic interface managed by internal team. Since a successful D&I strategy will necessarily have an impact on culture, this separate team should not exist and the talent management team itself should have this as one of their KRAs.

Where is Compensation & Benefits and HR Operations team headed?

Comp and ben and HR ops are 2 functions which will definitely move into the external specialist organization domain very fast. Depending on how the organization wants to maintain their confidentiality, the strategic role may or may not remain in-house even in the short run, and given the size of the company the HR leader may appoint a resource to execute the C&B strategy. However, from a knowledge standpoint, the entire process of how the organization should position itself, what the appropriate grades should be and various other strategic interfaces will be managed by the HRBP and the HR leader in partnership with the external specialist agency.

This journey has already begun in a lot of companies in bits and pieces, however, as time progresses, one will start seeing the HR organization becoming leaner and more and more experienced with senior resources becoming part of internal HR teams. By the time couple of years pass by, the HR framework will start seeing a lot of change in terms of delivery models given the rapid demand from business to deliver on the business scorecard and not only on the people scorecard.


Author -Mandeep Singh is Partner – Talent & Rewards at HRhelpdesk.in, He has 17 years experience as an HR Professional and prior to HRhelpdesk.in had worked for Vodafone, MetLife, Aviva, BMR Advisors, Naukri.com and accumulated extensive successes in the area of people management showing some unique and high impact contributions to the companies he has been associated with. He brings on the table expertise in HR Strategy, Talent Management, Leadership Development, Training & Development and Rewards.

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