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Is HR Missing the Mark on Transformation?

Via LinkedIn : I read with interest a recent CIPD article noting that 74% of HR organisations plan to restructure over the coming year. What’s the driver here? Getting beyond day-to-day operational firefighting and better aligning HR to business outcomes (the same briefing showed 92% feel held back by administrative and operational tasks).

While the desire for change is well intentioned, it’s worth noting how often it falls flat despite a lot of time and money put against it. In fact, CEB found only 16% of HR transformations fully achieve cost savings targets.

While the common pitfalls here are many, the single most common mistake I see in the hundreds of conversations I have with FTSE 250 HR leaders is remarkably consistent: HR sees huge running room in developing key processes for the business but spreads itself too thin in moving from ideas to execution. The outcome? HR projects (and teams) stall out, stuck at a similar level of maturity year on year with strategic build projects cannibalized by operational day-to-day basics. A better approach to transformation depends on 4 key components based on CEB research:

  1. HR structures must be tailored to real HR and organisational maturity (put simply, best in class needs to be built around your own business needs).
  2. Rather than chase process improvements and HRIS upgrades as the exclusive paths to HR efficiency and impact, HR staff skill development must be nurtured through appropriate HR career paths and structures.
  3. To capture the promise of HR Analytics, it is imperative to increase the true business application of talent data.
  4. All talent processes need to firmly build around business value and end-user consumability.

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