New HR Model: HR can be an architect

The world of work is changing quickly. It’s becoming more complex and more competitive. On top of this is the ‘double disruption’ of managing a workforce that is operating in a hybrid model for which there is no proven playbook to follow, while also seeking to automate and cognitively enable many jobs in the value chain of the organization. The World Economic Forum has identified that there’s going to be significant churn in the workforce, and the pace at which businesses need to rescale, reimagine roles within the organization, and get people and machines working together is unprecedented.

Successful transformation requires as much emphasis on change management as it does on technology implementation. We know from our Future of HR 2020 report that HR should be about much more than pay and rations, recruitment and reviews. It should be about reshaping the workforce, employee engagement and experience, shaping the workforce culture, and, of course, achieving HR process efficiency.

While many organizations have transferred their HR systems to a tier-one digitally-enabled transactional cloud platform, resulting in more of these process efficiencies, few have gone that step further to set up an HR operating model that can help them analyze the data and trends and make more evidence-based, strategic decisions. By working within an operating model that embraces data, HR leaders can give themselves license to operate at a higher business level than ever before. However, to deliver the insights and operating model that is going to drive business success, HR must undergo a seismic shift in its place and purpose within an organization.

It's going to be a challenge

Sixty percent of CEOs and EVPs surveyed in KPMG’s 2020 HR Pulse say their organizations considerHR an administratorratherthan a value driver. Perhaps unsurprisingly – or maybe optimistically – 74percent of CHROs disagree.

It’s not difficult to understand the perception– after all, historically at least, the HR department has been the ‘police’and ‘lawyer’ within many businesses.

It controlled what people were and weren’t allowed to do. HR staff did the paperwork and enforced the rules.

When recruitment was needed, other departments told HR what they required, and HR went out and got it. Consequently, the people strategy of the business could differ dramatically from department to department.

Of course, business needs today are different The KPMG Future of HR in the New Reality report emphasized the need for HR functions to bring lasting business value by building the workforce needed to compete in a digitalfuture.

That challenge has been heightened by the digital disruption and transformation journeys that businesses have been on, compounded by the global pandemic. This has brought about a fundamental and lasting change inhow we work.

As a consequence, HR needs to designthe people component of the business in a strategicway.

It needs to drive valuefor the organizationand respond quickly to changing circumstances.

For HR to transform from police to architect– from rule enforcer to strategist – it must first become data centric, and from there, be effective, efficient, and experiential.

Becoming data-driven and insight-centric

The key to HR’sfuture.

Finance has always been very strong at analyzing data – understanding valueand driving efficiencies. And it’s no coincidence that the finance team has traditionally held a lot of power.

Tochange CEOs’perceptions and delivertangible value, HR should become more data-driven and evidence-based aswell.


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