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The Transition to High-Functioning, High-Impact HR

Posted by Mathew French

29 July 2014

It has become clear from current research that older, more centralised HR models do not provide organisations with the agility, efficiency and responsiveness needed to increase management and leadership skills to the levels required for businesses to thrive. Not only that, these old models don't function well enough in meeting the evolving needs and goals of modern businesses from a purely administrative and operational perspective. Add to that a lack of efficient capability in sourcing, attracting, training, engaging, and retaining talent and the picture could be considered quite bleak. However, challenges can always be transformed into opportunities, and a great HR Professional will always intuit the best ways to see the possibility for transformation, as well as being able to make such a transition a reality.

We are all aware that HR departments are under tremendous (and ever increasing) pressure to help the CEO and other business leaders respond to skill and leadership gaps. In addition to this is the imperative to maintain best practice service delivery of standard HR requirements. However, as business evolves, current research indicates that HR Professionals will need to increase their capabilities well beyond meeting these challenges in order to remain competitive. The data collected for the latest Bersin by Deloitte report on HR’s role in business performance, indicates that current HR models exhibit deficiencies in HR’s ability to deliver the goods to meet future organisational requirements.



The Changing Parameters of Measuring HR Success

Just to remain competitive, organisations will also need to transform the way they evaluate and measure the success of the HR function beyond current parameters. As discussed in our previous blog on HR Technology Solutions, as a minimum best practice organisations need to have adopted HR technology solutions to enable HR to function appropriately. This is not just for the purpose of ensuring industry standard internal effectiveness and efficiency, but also simply to stay current with the capabilities of competitors. This is particularly relevant in the context of sourcing, attracting, training, engaging, and retaining talent. Minimum, technologically enhanced standards, should apply across all of these business requirements without fail.

Over and above that, HR Professionals also need to be able to harness the depth of knowledge available from integrated ecosystems that can draw on big data to predict future business needs and market trends. This knowledge will then need to be put to work to enhance the intuitiveness with which HR Professionals can begin to predict and anticipate future business operational and talent requirements.

In a market characterised by a shortage of available, skilled talent, the trend towards measuring the HR function’s value based on its ability to source, attract, train, engage, and retain talent, will require a sharper focus on a ‘both and’ delivery model. It is no longer enough to simply deliver the required service to current employees, but is it possible to achieve such lofty necessities?

It may seem like individual HR practitioners are being asked to transform themselves into the mythological Argos Panoptes, a hundred-eyed giant with 100 times the ability to 'see.' Whilst this might seem daunting and unachievable, the market is filled to overflowing with solutions that will facilitate this possibility as much as is humanly possible. These technology oriented solutions free up the astute HR Professional to be able to dedicate time to the more important, and people focused aspects of their roles. After all, it's about working smarter, not stretching yourself to beyond capacity by working too hard on things that could and should be easier.

To that end HR Professionals will need to reconsider organisational processes and operational goals to ensure the ability to assist frontline managers in acquiring, developing, managing and retaining talent in the most efficient and effective ways possible.

Minimum Standards Needed for HR Professionals to Enable Employees to Thrive:
  • Efficient and effective administrative processes that facilitate empowering work at the frontlines
  • Anticipation of business needs across the entire organisation in a simultaneous manner
  • Alignment, integration and coordination of employee efforts through the elimination of 'gaps'
  • The ability to truly take advantage of individual expertise and leverage that to benefit the whole
  • Access to, and dissemination of, business intelligence regardless of where it resides

The key to having the time to focus on these business imperatives, is to have the necessary tools and solutions to automate as much of the core functions of administration and compliance service delivery as possible.

According to Bersin's report, most organisations feel that they only 'somewhat adequately' perform their traditional operational and transactional roles. It is clear that many organisations have not yet taken advantage of the benefits technology solutions can provide. Ultimately, if you look at the current data and research, and those organisations who are leading the way, having access to the latest tools and technology solutions is a 'non-negotiable' enabler of success. If HR functions are to adapt to changing needs in the areas of talent management, business change, analytics, and globalisation, they really do need to ascend into the cloud and embrace SaaS.

Key Pillars of Future HR Success

Based on the results of their recent study on the relationship between and HR and business performance, Bersin by Deloitte has identified what they believe to be the key pillars of future HR success. Based on their research data, Bersin advises that HR functions must 'reoptimise' around the new world of global talent management and embed itself more deeply into the business proper. The optimal way to achieve this is through using deeper levels of expertise in data analytics and technology, as well as implementing strategically aligned and integrated talent practices.

The Transition to High-Functioning, High-Impact HR Encompasses the Following 5 Principles:
  1. Start with a foundation 
inclusive of analytics; an empowerment
 culture with bold HR leadership; and belief in value-added HR.
  2. Build a structure that optimises business-embedded design and delivery, leverages HR specialist expertise and uses external market intelligence.
  3. Maximise HR’s capability to align with the business and stay aligned by mirroring the business strategy despite external forces (alignment and resilience).
  4. Ensure responsiveness by coordinating efforts across the organisation, including frontline decision-making, information sharing, and providing depth and breadth of programs (responsiveness and coordination).
  5. Leverage the principles above to optimise business leadership, management people skills and HR performance to then create strong organisational performance.

It is clear that HR has a deeply intrinsic (and significantly increasing) role to play in enhancing business performance going forward. HR Professionals are being called on to transform themselves into key players within their organisation. To find out more about how Subscribe-HR's solutions can enable you to be a high-functioning, high-impact HR Professional, sign up for a free trial below.


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Credit: The image used in this blog is taken from the Bersin by Deloitte High Impact HR: Building Organisational Performance from The Ground Up report on the Bersin website.


Topics: HR technology, High-Impact HR, HR Success, High-Functioning HR

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