Pivoting Toward High-Impact Business HR

The business of HR should be the business.

Posted by Arthur Mazor and Joanne Stephane on May 16, 2017.

The HR function has been on an evolutionary journey to create and sustain more business value, but the journey is not over. It is time to take Business HR to the next level and transform it into a high-impact organization.

In our last post on Business HR, we looked at the three roles that characterize high-impact Business HR. Today we focus on making it happen—how Business HR can evolve to operate with high impact.

Get it right
The High-Impact HR Operating Model roles for Business HR are a next-level evolution, building on work that many organizations have already undertaken, with guidance from the models and research previously available. Developing Business HR roles to achieve High-Impact HR requires more than just deeming them “strategic.” It requires focused effort to create the needed capabilities, experiences, and development opportunities. Organizations need to consider refreshing their talent strategies to attract the right type of Business HR talent and internal development programs to build the new, required capabilities.

Redefining Business HR roles is an excellent start. But to see positive impact, we must focus on how to implement the Business HR function. Based on lessons learned and diagnostics from multiple implementations, we’ve identified a number of activities an organization can undertake to effectively develop and deploy the Business HR function.

  1. Align the Business and HR leadership on the strategy and priorities for Business HR.
  2. Clearly identify the services Business HR should provide to have the desired impact on the business.
  3. Define the concrete mechanisms by which Business HR interacts and collaborates with Communities of Expertise (CoEs) and HR Operational Services to focus on strategic solutions.
  4. Articulate and share clear definitions of Business HR roles with HR and the business.
  5. Structure and size the Business HR function to drive desired performance.
  6. Confirm the organization’s culture and infrastructure support and reinforce the right Business HR outcomes, values, and behaviors.
  7. Communicate the governance approach and decision rights of Business HR across HR, and for the business.
  8. Determine a mix of Buy, Build, and Broker to staff the new Business HR function.
    • Buy – recruit from nontraditional sources, such as from other functions in the business, graduate programs, and business schools.
    • Build – prepare for a journey of blended development opportunities that incorporate the 70-20-10 approach (70 percent experiential learning; 20 percent coaching, social, and self-learning; and 10 percent formal learning).
    • Broker – fill gaps with contracted support in key areas.
  9. Continue to invest in building consulting, business, and leadership capabilities of Business HR.
  10. Build reliable technologies, tools and data to support providing insights and conduct root cause analysis. Use these components as input to build a Business HR toolset, leveraging the CoE model to develop a BHR CoE to support ongoing development and refinement of models, tools and skills to continually improve, respond to business needs and be able to quickly pivot. Rely less on inherent individual capabilities and more on methods, analytics, and external research.
  11. Implement Business HR metrics that begin with the business unit’s imperatives. Be clear on how Business HR can impact those imperatives.
  12. Implement with same rigor and focus as the HR Operational Services component of your operating model.
  13. Support the Business HR transformation through effective change management, training, and communication activities

Continuing the journey
If HR is to meet business expectations, we must create a new mind-set for HR—and the role of the Business HR function is instrumental in this objective. The business of HR must become the business; the historical HR Business Partner concept that brought us to today likely cannot sustain tomorrow. The Business HR function of the future is positioned to turn business challenges into tangible results—becoming the credible, business-oriented trusted adviser and leader that organizations require.

Arthur Mazor is a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP and the practice leader for HR Strategy & Employee Experience and Global HR Service Delivery. He collaborates with complex, global clients to achieve high business impact with a focus on transforming human capital strategies, programs, and services.
Joanne Stephane is a senior manager with Deloitte Consulting LLP in the HR Strategy & Employee Experience practice and a leader in Business HR Consulting. Joanne works with clients to drive employee engagement and workforce performance through end-to-end HR and Talent Transformation.

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