Are we on the verge of HR 3.0?

by Miklos Bolza25 Jul 2016
“I think we’re at this really big inflexion point for HR. HR 1.0 was personnel and labour relations and HR 2.0 was the Dave Ulrich model with business partners, a strategic focus, centres of expertise and so on. I think we’re at the verge of an HR 3.0.”
While speaking with HC, Karie Willyerd, author of Stretch: How to Future-Proof Yourself for Tomorrow's Workplace and workplace futurist at SAP, spoke of the next big step for the HR function as a whole.
While the actual name for this new HR hasn’t been given yet, there was a hunger by top leadership to redefine the role, she said, making a shift from admin and labour relations to providing meaningful insight into the business.
“The other thing is how do we get the functions of HR more integrated with one another? In the old Dave Ulrich model, the centres of expertise, business partners and biz ops sit in different places. There’s no integrating thread.”
This means that the voice of the employees and top management gets lost amongst these various silos as COEs focus on their individual areas.
One component of HR 3.0 is that HR will become more agile, Willyerd said, with the voice of staff and managers permeating and being integrated throughout HR instead of within standalone silos.
Part of what is driving this evolution is a “yearning for excellence in HR,” she added.
“If you look at the Millennial workforce, there are lots of indications they want to take advantage of some things that HR can bring to the table.”
By 2020, Millennials will make up more than 50% of the workforce so what this generation actually wants is essential for HR, Willyerd told HC.
She highlighted the latest SAP study of executives and employees – a 21 country survey conducted in conjunction with Oxford Economics – which was probably one of the first to look at Millennial executives in the c-suite.
“The difference between Millennial and non-Millennial executives was around 30 points. This is super dramatic. What they’re saying is we’re not innovative enough. There’s a big emphasis on diversity. Millennial executives were more concerned about diversity than female executive were. They say we don’t collaborate enough.”
This means Millennial executives will end up demanding more of the HR function in the future.
“HR can step up and move to that next level or not. If we don’t, then I think we will get split up but if we step up, we could create perhaps the most important role in an organisation going forward.”
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  • by Norm Smallwood 26/07/2016 3:30:36 AM

    I liked the intent in this paper. It's good to push the envelope about how HR contributes to the business and what this means. To be transparent, I am the co-founder of the RBL Group and Dave Ulrich's business partner and have coauthored many books and articles with him. We do a lot of work in HR Transformation and feel like we have a good pulse on what is going on globally. However, there has to the future of HR than to identify that the challenge is make the COEs more cross functional and that HR must add value to the business. We agree. The question is how.
    Dave continues to publish his ideas based on what we learn and then gets critiqued on what has been written in the past. We continue to be a part of the evolution of the future of HR and work with clients to implement these "ideas with impact" as we learn. For example, we have experimented with COEs that are based not on HR activities (recruiting, OD, training and development) but around the business capabilities that deliver investor and customer confidence in the future (speed, innovation, customer connectivity etc) with cross functional experts staffed around these deliverables. We have talked about this as the challenge to shift from HR activities to business deliverables and then to organize HR across not within these silos.
    We welcome the opportunity to discuss and be a valued player in the future of HR with your readers.

  • by Trish Frick 1/08/2016 12:59:01 PM

    The perspective needs to move from "how should HR (as an entity) provide services and structure itself" to "how should managers gain the expertise they need to manager the talent management lifecycle basics"!!!! The perspective also need to move from a focus on a generational analysis of any one role.

    "HR is everyone's business" but especially Managers.

    Executives (of any 'generation)' need to bite the bullet and have in place a robust manager induction, ongoing professional development program and succession strategy which reflects good basics, creates networks and communities of practice, promotes collaboration and compelling experiences, embeds knowledge and resource sharing systems (e.g. LMS's and similar) and responds to the patterns and issues of the day/month/year.

    Leaders need to set clear standards related to risk analyses that suit the business, and communicate that to Managers > Level 3 and 2 HR work deeply involves the local managers, with Level 3 being ‘everyday’ HR, and Level 2 being ‘complex’ HR work. Level 1 is HR work that requires direct intervention and control by HR; specialist IR, WHS and case management in all areas of talent management.

    Experts must be identified as having 'the right stuff' for people management and if not, provided with alternative career pathways. Standards must be set in this regard or else we risk running the same treadmill we have for decades - asking the wrong questions and relying on the wrong answers; focusing on improvements to HR instead of building local talent management confidence, resilience and 'toolboxes'.

    This then provides HR with a focus on the systems, workflows and tools to either 'buy, build or borrow' > with HR practitioners building their capabilities and specialities: in content, as 'connectors' and 'coordinators', system and workflow co-creators. Our role is to showcase the talent management lifecycle and key tools for managers, support managers as they work as coaches and with their teams to meet and exceed performance standards with the 'right' combination of learning options, and build confidence so managers and performers can take responsibility for their own performance and development.

    HR for too long has had a tendency to want to 'own' talent tools, when we should be the 'architects' of performance experiences: building the right platforms with the right materials and letting those living in those performances spaces to get on with it.

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