Teams, HR, and Organization Design

Posted by Jeff Mike on February 7, 2018.

Our research has confirmed that designing the organization of the future is a top challenge for business executives around the world.1 The dynamic nature of an increasingly digital economy and the expectations of data-empowered customers require businesses to operate with an unprecedented combination of precision and agility. As a result, many organizations are moving from “stick-and-box” thinking about organization structure to agile networks of multifunctional teams.

Our current High-Impact Organization Design survey, under way through March 9, takes a deep dive into what leading organizations are doing to transform from old, hierarchal models to flatter, more nimble networks of teams.

What is HR’s role?

Bersin’s High-Impact HR study identified a connection between the best-performing HR organizations and their level of expertise in developing teams.2 In fact, 74 percent of high-impact HR organizations reported outstanding expertise in developing teams, while only 34 percent of low-impact HR organizations reported the same (see figure). Clearly the high-impact HR organizations recognize the importance of HR’s own capabilities in cultivating teams and a workplace in which they can thrive.

Low-Impact vs. High-Impact HR: Outstanding Expertise in Developing Teams

Source: Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP, 2017.

Building HR’s capabilities in developing teams means taking a multifaceted approach. An important element is certainly team composition. At the same time, much of the existing research on teams has focused primarily on team member characteristics and not enough on other important factors such as team dynamics, self-management, and how shifting environments affect team processes.3

Developing teams also requires an understanding of:

  • Dynamics. HR needs to know how fluid environments drive constant changes in team membership and how team members interact most effectively to reach collective goals.
  • Leadership. As stick-and-box structures give way to dynamic teams, organizations are pushing authority and governance down the hierarchy. As a result, leadership opportunities are often distributed among team members and can arise much more quickly than they have in the past. HR can help prepare these new leaders to hit the ground running and promote their continued success.
  • Mindset. As teams become the prevailing mode of organizing in businesses, HR should move toward a more team-centered mindset. This means incorporating team-level outcomes and measures into talent, performance, rewards, and technology strategies.
  • Inclusion. HR must help ensure that every team member has a voice and that diverse perspectives and ideas are incorporated for better problem-solving and innovation. This is especially important considering the increasing emphasis on multifunctional teams.
  • Individuals. What does this shift toward teams mean for individuals in the organization? How can HR help workers maximize their contributions to teams while continuing to develop their individual careers?

Share your expertise

There’s more to HR’s role in organization design than outstanding capabilities in developing teams, however. Our current High-Impact Organization Design survey is an opportunity to contribute your expertise to this critical and fast-moving issue.

The purpose of the survey is to capture how the best-performing businesses go about organization design, along with HR’s role in supporting and optimizing that design. Along with teams, organization design includes the following:

  • Formal structure
  • Processes and work
  • Rewards and motivation

Participate by March 9 and receive:

  • Our infographic, Change Management: 7 Essential Elements for Navigating the Sea of Change
  • Access to a recorded webinar of the top 10 findings (when available)
  • An instant snapshot of how other survey respondents feel about their organization structure’s ability to achieve strategic goals
  • An executive summary of the survey results (when available)

Survey details:

  • When. Now through March 9, 2018.
  • Who. Business and HR leaders, individual contributors, consultants, and solution providers.
  • Estimated time involved. 20 minutes.


If you know of others interested in participating in our research, please share this link with them:

Jeff MikeJeff Mike, Vice President, Human Resources Research Leader / Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Jeff leads HR research for Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP. An expert in building the capabilities of corporate HR teams, Jeff transforms HR professionals from process-oriented practitioners into strategic partners who are able to compete in complex global talent markets. His ability to combine research with innovative development activities was honed through experience as a faculty member in human resources development at Al Akhawayn University in Morocco. Also former head of human capital at IMPAQ International, Jeff has a bachelor of arts in English literature from the University of Washington, a master of science in organizational development and strategic human resources from Johns Hopkins University, and a doctorate in human and organizational learning from The George Washington University.

1 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends: Rewriting the rules for the digital age, Deloitte Consulting LLP and Deloitte University Press, 2017,
2 High-Impact HR, Bersin, Deloitte LLP / Jeff Mike, 2017.
3 “Teams are changing: Are research and practice evolving fast enough?” Industrial and Organizational Psychology / Scott I. Tannenbaum, John E. Mathieu, Eduardo Salas, and Debra Cohen, 2012.

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