High-Impact HR Operating Model – Key To Business Success

A new approach for hiring better and efficient staff.

learn more about Dilshad Kothawala

By Dilshad Kothawala


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Eminent professors including Dave Ulrich, Wayne Brockbank, and many of their professional colleagues helped set the direction for transformation of Human Resource. Over the years, many academics, practitioners, and consultants have come together to help HR professionals deliver real business value to their organizations by building upon collective research, discussions and experiences.

However, despite all of the knowledge gained and shared, many organizations continue to struggle in pragmatically realizing what is commonly identified as High-Impact HR.

So why has this become the holy grail of HR across the world today?

Deloitte research consistently indicates that when HR operates with High-Impact, the business excels. In other words, companies that implement the High-Impact model are far more likely to adapt to market changes, accelerate introduction of new products or services, operate efficiently, and win over their competition.

HR as a strategic function

To achieve High-Impact HR, a shift to a new level of maturity will be required. Traditional models that focus on service delivery efficiency and cost reduction are important. But now we must move further – from "rationalization" to "optimization" of the entire HR function.

This new model will bring HR closer to the business, turn the team into consultants and advisors, and will move HR's skills up to a new level of capability and maturity. We call it the High Impact HR Operating Model.

The High-Impact HR Operating Model is a new blueprint for the HR function to bring it closer and in sync with the business and to drive up levels of innovation and expertise. In addition, it will elevate HR's role to a driver of strategic talent and business outcomes.

High Impact HR Operating Model

Looking at the last two decades, the HR operating model has moved from being an operations unit to a services organization. Yet, most organizations continue to struggle to build an HR function that can move away from transactional elements and focus on strategic alignment with business.

The model has been tried through shared services and outsourcing, yet as services become cost heavy and people-dependent, it becomes imperative that HR evolve into a more product and technology dependent function.

Products that are intelligent, easy to adopt and bring significant value to end-users will be preferred. Products and tools which support faster data retrieval, churn to information, and deliver intelligence based output will need to become an integral part of the High Impact HR Target Operating Model.

Role of technology

HCM technology is forecasted to grow to USD 15 billion by 2018 as indicated by various sources. This clearly indicates the market has identified a need for transforming the HR Operating Model.

Even today, Employee Data Management tools dominate 50 percent of the technology market. While this is great, the real winner will be the companies that adopts structured data management tools, combine automated transactions layer with a robust self-learning(partially supervised to unsupervised) intelligent engine and input these to formulate strategic insights.

The outcome: an agile HR that is a contributing force to the organization.

It is imperative that technology advances from transaction efficiencies to automation to intelligence. As all three layers converge, HR will evolve faster than any other business function.

Future Operating Model

The challenge that most HR leaders face today is whether to replace or bolt on legacy investments in transaction systems. Adoption will differ depending on factors including the IT landscape of organizations. A hybrid model is more likely to see immediate ROI.

With this premise clearly established, the HR Operating Model is going to metamorphose into a strategic business enabler with software automation taking over operational delivery items, or hiving off of transactional jobs. The management roles will be held by specialists, qualified for these well-defined roles.

An impactful operating proposition will clearly focus on Technology and Automation as the crux of the model.

Building the Next Gen HR Target Operating Model is becoming increasingly relevant and urgent as the function progresses from services only model to data driven strategy. And workplace transformation that appeals to the smarter workforce gets underway.

Dilshad Kothawala

Head of Product Strategy, EdGE Networks

Dilshad is the head of Product Strategy at EdGE Networks, an HR Tech startup, which aims to solve workforce related challenges in organizations using Artificial Intelligence and Data Science. Dilshad comes with extensive experience in Organization Effectiveness, HR Solution Consulting and Business Process Management. She has led initiatives on presales, employee engagement, workforce management and organization design during her earlier stints at Standard Chartered, Infosys and TCS. Technology powering domain is her passion.

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