One Size Does Not Fit All for Business HR

Posted by Arthur MazorJoanne Stephane, and Gary Johnsen on January 4, 2018.

Across industries, organizations know that a “one-size-fits-all” approach doesn’t always hit the mark with their customers. Customers are increasingly expecting personalization in their interactions with the companies from which they buy products and services. Delivering a fit-for-purpose experience requires organizations to both understand customer needs and apply a collection of capabilities with specialized knowledge to truly deliver against customer needs.

These expectations are not unique to customers. In fact, HR professionals who are closely partnered with their businesses increasingly need to grow their capabilities to deliver solutions that are “fit-for-purpose” to the business groups they enable.

The right strategy and operating model can help navigate market disruption
We know that every industry globally is experiencing various levels of changing competition and challenges to traditional business models. In many large enterprises we work with, the challenges can vary across business units or divisions within the very same company. While there elements of culture, overall strategy, and common stakeholders can be among a number of unifying forces across business units, often each segment of an enterprise must have distinct business strategies, operating models, and market offerings. For example, a business unit that succeeds based on innovative technology in a new market it creates will need a different leadership approach than a business unit in a mature, highly competitive market.

Business HR professionals are finding it imperative to apply a similar logic in the way they shape and deliver their services on behalf of the enterprise and to enable the business groups with which they team. While Business HR can provide similar capabilities and services across business units, how Business HR drives organizational performance will differ based on the business strategy and operating model of a particular unit. Growth-oriented businesses need high engagement in the labor market, rigorously and frequently adjusting their workforce planning to stay ahead of the market. Other business units may require more succession management and focus on talent development and retention of resources critical to innovation.

Creating a “fit for purpose” approach for Business HR services to business units and functions can help tailor the right blend of capabilities to meet business needs – both at the business unit and enterprise levels. Each business can “dial up” or “dial down” the focus on a set of Business HR services, while gaining the benefit of certain “core” capabilities or services consistently needed across the enterprise.

Applying a framework to achieve “fit for purpose” Business HR
A framework with these seven components can help answer important questions and position Business HR drive to drive increased value as part of driving High-Impact HR:

  • Clearly articulate the specific challenges and needs of the industry, business strategy, and operating model of the business unit and function.
    How do they make money and serve their customers?
  • Define the unique talent, capabilities, and jobs required to serve their customers and achieve their strategy.
    What must workers do and what behavioral norms should they adhere to for success in the business unit / function?
  • Determine which services are needed and should have higher focus from the Business HR function along with the services that the broader HR organization will provide.
    How does Business HR team with its partners in the broader HR team to deliver the complete suite of solutions and services for the business?
  • Evaluate and grow Business HR function capabilities to enhance those capabilities that exist and build net-new capabilities required.
    How willing is the organization to invest in professional capability development for HR professionals?
  • Build a team with the blend of skills and capabilities needed to drive the value for the business.
    Where can Business HR make the most impact?
  • Launch the approach with the business unit and Business HR team, with service agreements and key performance metrics.
    How will Business HR efforts drive tangible, measurable business outcomes?
  • Re-evaluate and reinvent the way Business HR delivers, the capabilities it delivers to the business, and the priority focus areas.
    How can Business HR drive value in lock-step with the fast pace of business change?

Defining the direction for Business HR requires making Strategic Design Choices for this important component in the High-Impact HR Operating Model. These choices, which range from the way Business HR collaborates with its partners in HR to geographic and reporting structure choices, in combination with the above framework can position HR leaders to define the “fit-for-purpose” Business HR design that’s right for each business unit and the enterprise overall.

Arthur Mazor is a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP and the practice leader for HR Strategy & Employee Experience and HR Service Delivery globally. 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 principal 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.
Gary Johnsen is a specialist leader with Deloitte Consulting LLP. He is the deputy leader of the HR Strategy & Employee Experience practice. He helps complex organizations design and deploy innovative HR strategies, operating models, and HR customer experiences along with enabling processes, tools, and capabilities that build the bridge between business and HR.

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