"We are now younger, more ambitious, and more
business-focused than ever", so writes Josh Bersin in
Bersin by Deloitte's Ten Key Predictions for 2016; he
writes this about the HR profession given its changing mandate as
companies invest heavily in innovation and analytics. Josh goes on
to say that HR are "becoming 'specialist gurus' who
fly in to a business situation, bring our bag of expert HR,
diagnose the problem and deliver some kind of innovative
However, is this how it really works, are HR organisations
filled with the right capabilities to deliver innovative solutions?
Many organisations that we work with do not have the HR capability
in the key positions to work with the business on these critical
The recent Human
Capital Trends Report found only 12% of organisations surveyed
felt they had the skills required to address their global HR and
talent issues. This suggests that HR is being given the mandate but
does not have the talent in the function to respond.
So how can we address this issue? How can we ensure that HR
functions of the future have the right blend of capabilities to
meet the demands of their organisations? Now is the time for HR to
drive change internally, re-design their capability requirements to
reflect that of the organisation.
Traditionally, HR functions started with the skills and
capabilities required by each area, whether that was HR Business
Partners, Centre's of Excellence or Shared Service Centres;
these skills were often based on HR technical capability with
business insight and understanding a "nice to have",
rather than core competency.
To really make a difference today, HR must develop advanced
capabilities that facilitate business growth, deliver insight and
enable operational excellence. The skillset of capabilities
required are no longer that of a functional specialist –
being "very good at HR" is not good enough, or quite
frankly what is needed by the business. Today's businesses
require leaders who are able to think strategically across all
areas of the business, who provide generalist and specialist
representation and insight from their function. This focus on the
business skills reflects the trend for talented professionals to be
cross functional or move between functions brokering and
consulting, and drawing on deep specialisms within the function in
To understand these requirements and begin to address the dearth
in HR talent we have developed an 'inside out' capability
model which puts the business requirements at the core,
supplemented by business capabilities that are focused around core
business and consulting skills. These capabilities are then
enhanced by an interchangeable layer of functional HR capabilities
which demonstrate a depth of expertise within the function.
This model looks to address some of the key skills that HR needs
to help drive the organisation, such as: conceptual reasoning,
creativity and innovation, commercialism and customer perspective.
This skillset scarcity needs to be addressed by CHROs looking to
take HR to the next level.
Our model allows for HR to absorb and attract talent from other
parts of the organisation, through developing their functional HR
knowledge whilst capitalising on their core business knowledge, to
cultivate a truly business centric HR professional.
We believe that HR functions that move to this model will be
more likely to have the capabilities in place to fly in to a
business situation, bring our bag of expert HR, diagnose the
problem and deliver some kind of innovative solution.
Organisations that turn their HR capabilities inside out will find
that they have a:
Flexible and agile HR workforce
Wider pool of talent for HR succession plan
Customer and business intelligent function
Improved future leader capability
Increased retention through innovative career paths
HR functions need to look at their capabilities now; it is
fantastic that we are talking about the value HR brings to an
organisation and not about the 'death of HR'. However,
without a radical change in capabilities there is a danger that HR
will not deliver its new exciting mandate.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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