My reflection on the Deloitte HCM 2015 trend report: 4 Reinventing HR

The topic of “Reinventing HR” is my favorite area as it represents one key driver of my personal professional passion. Reinventing HR is not the end of means itself, it’s reinventing “HR” – to something  we believe “HR” should be able to deliver but can’t deliver today. Maybe the value proposition we expect HR to deliver should be delivered by someone else? As long as someone owns it I am happy, let’s call this someone HR. Since we live in a global and digital service industry it should be a no issue or news by now, or?

“HR is at a crossroads. Once designed primarily as a compliance function, today’s HR organization must be agile, business integrated, data-driven, and deeply skilled in attracting, retaining, and developing talent. These business imperatives demand not only a new organizational model for HR itself, but also a massive re-skilling of HR professionals around the world. They also create an unprecedented opportunity for HR to play a preeminent role at the highest levels of business strategy.” – Deloitte 2015

Bottom line HR needs to move from compliance to a role of talent building, from generalists to consultants while leveraging their emerging capability of professional development and research. Despite that, when I google HR transformation in Swedish my top hits are still about books or other editorial entries that are at least two years old. The debate does not seem to be there at large, does it? It’s still a fluffy subject even though many companies are rolling out talent management solutions now, which is good and which they should as it’s easier and faster than you think. Start anywhere!

As a certified business transformation consultant I had the pleasure of meeting with the change master herself – Rosabeth Moss Kanter – who provocatively said one thing in a workshop I always carry with me:

“You can always put lipstick on a bulldog, but it’s still a bulldog” – RM Kanter

Her point was that some people you simply can’t change.

Deloitte supports this statement with surveyed facts like “nearly 40 percent of new CHROs now come from the business, not from HR”. My general take away is that whatever the vast majority of HR is doing today (at least 90 % of them according to Deloitte) they must improve or will never be able to do. Instead of “simply managing transactions, implementing policies, and developing programs, the new HR organization (should aim) to focus on understanding the needs of the business and delivering value-added solutions.”

Now, where do we find the champions of programs like that? Do we “put lipstick on bulldog” or do we search for new talents on the streets?  Talent War? In HR itself?

Every business and function today is facing disruption driven by technology and cloud based alternatives at lower cost, less risk, better quality, better mobility and process service. So does HR. Why  not adopt new technology and new delivery models already now, not at least in public space, given all the anticipated expectations in the future related to agility, the five generation challenges etc. I am still amazed that public organisations still renew old existing operating models where alternative vendors can never justify transition cost from comparing as is prices. Many private companies retain their old SSC operating models in house. I would not question this if the business expectation gap of HR was as wide as Deloitte claims. Something is wrong here on macro-level, not at least in public space. At Zalaris our core business is to do all the stuff current HR should move away from. All our core HR services are cloud based, multi-country enabled and compliant best practice service in each country we operate. (We also increasingly help companies transform HR aligned with the trends spotted by Deloitte.)

My strictly personal view, is that I don’t understand why companies keep outdated technology and delivery models (and its associated cost and inflexibility) in house given all the other focus areas that needs attention (statistically speaking), unless, of course,  you are a bulldog company, like us, or a bulldog professional, like me.

I could not agree more with the Deloitte recipe for success:

  1. Design the HR organization to deliver solutions, consulting and service delivery as trusted business advisories
  2. Create business-integrated “networks of excellence” with embedded experts within the business
  3. Centralize strategic initiatives such as recruitment, development, employee relations, and coaching
  4. Make HR a talent and leadership magnet

I really recommend to read the full and good report from Deloitte at

These are exciting changes and times in what we can call “HR” for anyone inclined to tag along. Please comment or reach out for a 1:1 to discuss this topic, your target organisation design and new roles descriptions in your new HR ecosystem.

Sven Hultin – Business Development Director at Zalaris, Sweden

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