HR has the opportunity to emerge as a true strategic business partner by building people and organizational capability along with ensuring effective and efficient HR delivery
The Functional, technical and behavioral competencies are a must for any HR professional by virtue of being in the HR function
Q. 1. What is driving the transformation of HR?
HR transformation is essentially a part of the broader organization-wide transformation process. Modern day organizations have experienced wave after wave of rapid transformation as global markets and external political and economic changes make it impossible for any business or service whether private, public or non-profit, to cling to past ways of doing work.
As part of this organizational transformation process, the HR function too has evolved from the traditional days of being a time-office to the present day where we talk of HR being a strategic partner.
In the current era, transformation of HR is generally driven by the following organizational needs:
1. Effective and efficient HR delivery
2. Building people and organizational capability
Products, services and even processes can be copied. But, if an organization can build its capabilities more rapidly than its competition, it can get ahead and stay ahead. The rate at which people and organizations build their capabilities may well become the only sustainable competitive advantage in the knowledge-based economy.
Hence, HR has the opportunity to emerge as a true strategic business partner by building people and organizational capability along with ensuring effective and efficient HR delivery.
Q. 2. Will HR transformation happen by making HR strategic or will it be decided by the way they execute HR operations?
Bill Gates’s famous comment states that the most important assets in his company walk out of the door every night. So what can HR do to ensure they return to work the next day? The answer lies in the way we address this question with respect to the current drivers of HR transformation which will decide the course of HR Transformation.
From a strategic perspective, the prime focus should be on partnering with all stakeholders in the organization towards building people and organizational capability.
From an operational perspective, the focus should be on streamlining the efficiency and effectiveness of HR delivery along with greater interface with all stakeholders on effective talent management practices including talent retention and talent development.
Q. 3. What activities is HR spending more time on today? If there is a need for HR to change its focus, how can it do so?
At a very fundamental level, HR is spending a considerable amount of time in projecting itself as a strategic business partner. In fact HR POCs or generalists are now designated as HRBPs in several organizations. However, mere projection and designation without any radical shifts in HR strategy and operations is not enough for the acceptance of HR as a strategic business partner.
On an average, HRBPs spend a major percentage of their time on routine enabling and support operations like workforce administration, payroll & benefits, resolution of employee queries, HRIS management, reporting and compliance. As a result, they are left with very little time to collaborate with stakeholders on core areas like attracting, engaging and developing quality talent for the organization.
For me, the overall HR delivery Pyramid consists of 4 layers-
1. Strategic HR
2. Talent Management
3. Enabling Operations
4. Support Operations
The strategic HR activities include focus on organization culture and values, HR scorecard design, HR planning & budgeting, policy & process advisory, performance & total rewards, organization effectiveness, and employer branding which should be entrusted to specialists in Centers of Excellence (C0Es).
The talent management activities including employee engagement, competency management, learning & development, performance management, rewards & recognition management, and career & succession planning should be entrusted to generalists or HRBPs.
Enabling & support operations should be entrusted to dedicated professionals with technical expertise along with the HRBPs & CoEs acting as the need-based functional experts in delivering these 2 layers of the HR delivery pyramid. These dedicated professionals could be internal employees belonging to a shared services center or third party employees belonging to an HR outsourcing service provider.
This model should enable HR to focus on core HR areas and emerge as a valued business partner.
Q. 4. What is HR’s new role in this new context? Why is HR required if all activities can be outsourced?
The new role of HR is to effectively deliver the top 2 layers of the HR delivery pyramid viz. strategic HR and talent management, and oversee the delivery of the bottom two layers viz. enabling & support operations thereby streamlining effectiveness & efficiency of overall HR delivery and focusing on building people and organizational capability to emerge as a valued strategic business partner.
HR has to exist for building people and organizational capability for a sustainable competitive advantage. HR must also manage vendors so that it can achieve the right focus in its new role.
Q. 5. What are the new competencies required by HR?
The competencies required for HR today are quite the same as outlined in the competency framework called ‘HR Compass’ which has been evolved by the CII, NHRDN & XLRI after years of in-depth research:
For HR to be successful in its new role it has to develop the above competencies.
The Functional, technical and behavioral competencies are a must for any HR professional by virtue of being in the HR function. However, there could be possible gaps in the generic technical and behavioral competencies.