Successfull people management is only possible with a well-structured HR department. But in order to establish an effective and sustainable business model for the HR department, the HR function requires an advanced role and organizational model.
The reason: on the one hand, satisfaction with the external and internal HR function world-wide can be called moderate at best. The original and correct focus of David Ulrich’s “three-legged stool“ model on the role of strategic partner, change agent, employee champion or administrative expert with a general requirement of HR as a business partner is mirrored only in parts of the predominant pillar model. In addition, that model is often permeated by compromises regarding interfaces and responsibilities and performes a much too demanding balancing act between people and business perspective in ist central business partner function. In Europe this is accompanied by a still unnacceptably high administration ratio.
On the other hand, the digital transformation of society, business models and enterprises requires innovative solutions in the field of digital leadership, skills management, company culture, as well as accompanying transformation management. The traditional roles of business partners and competence or excellence centres are not geared to this disruptiv consulting and project focus – and the role of digital core capabilities with regard to technology, data and project management is still in ist infancy.
Furthermore, valuable discussions concerning ambidextrous structures are not depicted – in the current HR world the same key positions are responsible for running the business as well as changing the business. With regard to the fundamental positioning of a future-oriented HR function we propose a change from the controversial (and as main central function also self-evident) overall business partner role to a positioning which is again more focused on the human element as well as demanding processes of change: as people and transformation partner, who works with a natural consistent orientation towards the corporate strategy and continues to subordinate to a target customer model. What will then be crucial, considering the organisational model with ist roles and functions, ist he depiction of the run and change dimensions, which is supplemented by a front and back-office dimension.
In the resulting framework we propose four clearly distinctive and seperable role models and job profiles, which can be cleraly depicted organisationally in this form: the HR partner with decentralised focus on talent and culture as successor oft he business partners, the HR experts as the operational heart with competence and service center units, the advisor role as exclusively agile project-based interdisciplinary unit and the new digital role as future lab of HR work with IT-oriented skills profile without any HR background. The basic orientation of this new role model can be adapted flexibly to various substructures and combines positive building blocks of the hitherto role or process organisation with all the trends of disruptive structural and cultural content oft he digital industry.