Is it Time to Split HR?

August 5, 20158:36 am937 views

David Ulrich stated in Harvard Business Review, “20% of the professionals are exceptional, adding value that helps organizations move forward, 20% of HR folks are locked into a fixed mindset and lack either competence or commitment to deliver real value, and 60% are in the middle.”

In response to this article, Ram Charan proposed to split HR in two different parts as:

  1. The HR administration would report to the CFO of a company, which could be 60% – 80% of the current staffing.
  2. HR leaders and organisation management as a separate function, reporting directly to the CEO and providing strategic advisory for human capital management.

As recent posts in HBR suggests, blowing up HR? Does HR as a function need to blown out of proportion? Worth a thought!

Dave Ulrich holds a prominent stature of recognition in the HR space and is known to speak to the minds and hearts of HR professionals. It could be least expected of Ulrich to take a negative stand against his HR fan base.

However, this HR expert status didn’t stop him from admitting that HR can be split. Through his excellence and knowledge, Ulrich in a way has already subtly advocated split by clearly distinguishing between the machinery and intelligence of HR.

See: Choose Any of These HR Roles to Resolve Problems in an Organisation

While most of HR professionals will agree to the fact that the role of human resource function is to clearly demarcate, maintain and execute human capital plans.

With technology advancement into the HR realm of operations, the processes now can be completely automated with support from operational IT units. Also HR operations can be centralised today with other organisation’s operations without any risk element in place.

HR operations when automated with advanced technology systems eliminate the need for skilled technically-sound HR expert to manage and maintain operations. Transactions are executed with utmost ease to relieve the HR folks more time to focus on productive functions such as talent management and retention.

The Extent to Which HR Can Be Split

Here are some couple of suggestions as mentioned by Frederik Haentjens, which experts like Ulrich will not disagree with:

  • HR excellence does not require the volume and quantity of resources, which you will more commonly find in traditional HR departments functioning even today. Since we assume only 20 percent of the HR professionals are actually dealing with HR issues, while the remaining 80 percent is solely focused onto HR administration, it is advisable to move administration to a centralised support and operations unit. Even HR on cloud can be recommended choice.
  • HR units are generally overstaffed with personnel, owing to the fact that operations unit is not always equipped with the latest tools. The operations have to deal with challenges such as bureaucratic management and excessive paper work. With some effective tools and technologies in place, the HR management can save on 80 percent of the transaction costs.
  • The CHRO is often felt helpless when dealing with excessive work load by HR administration and compliance, legal hassles, payments, labour issues and more of it all. The focus of CHRO should be limited to leadership management, performance enhancement and analytics.

According to my opinion, blowing up HR is quite a far-fetched approach. The times signal for need of an intelligent HR split.

News and Image credits: LinkedIn Pulse

Also read: 4 Key Traits to become a great HR Manager

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