Research Articles

Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness

Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness (HR) leaders are faced with new business challenges each day as dynamic change is the norm. HR leadership is being called upon to make some of the most difficult decisions and policy in our recent history. The skills needed to navigate the day in an HR Managers shoes are much wider than just several years ago. Compliance, health/safety, hybrid work, DEI, and ethics are now more predominate than ever. Organizations continue to widen the global footprint of services and talent in an effort to maintain market leadership positions and competitive advantages.  New businesses, new locations, new challenges and the underlying daily needs of a highly sophisticated and diverse organization, requires HR leaders to not only react to needs, but they are also expected to proactively identify them and partner with business leaders to formulate strategically aligned, agile, and innovative solutions. This reality comes into play through growth, acquisition, expansion and even contraction of existing and forming business models.

Due to the aforementioned transformation, at an organizational and people level, companies are experiencing commonly seen impacts that are akin to transformational change. Thus, a stabilization effort, involving HR, Business, and Executive leadership is a requirement to succeeding with limited collateral damage to the DNA of the organization (People, Process, Technology).

HR developmental and intervention strategies would capture the macro essence of a required need to be innovative, flexible, and contemplative during change, all while executing flawlessly and with as little negative impact as possible. This effort when simplified appears to be logical, yet the complexity of the scenario and most importantly, the capability of the HR leaders to drive the solutions, will prove to be mission critical.

This article is meant to provoke strategic thinking around the challenges that HR leaders will be confronted with during transformation and does not provide a prescriptive solution. However, it is diagnostic and will provide a macro road map from which more detailed change support and implementation strategies can be gleaned. Finally, the document suggests a holistic look at the HR Leadership function and is focused on the “root” of transformation, not the symptoms of change.

Risks and Assumptions

The following Risks and Assumptions can be leveraged by management and/or HR Leaders to evaluate the highest level of “transformational” risk impacts. The dissemination of the answers to these topical questions will provide a starting point for HR intervention, improvement action, and on-going developmental projects:

1. Integrated Global Business Strategies are the “new” norm (Fact)

a. Do business heads participate in organized open forums to discuss the state of the business, successes, and failures openly?
b. Do we have transparent strategies that are shared across the enterprise for validation and review of strategic purpose?
c. Do we consider industry trends, competitive analysis, and past/future gaps during the strategic planning process?

2. Cross Functional Business Workflows are the “new” norm (Fact)

a. Do we evaluate methods and process for redundancy and competency alignment?
b. Have we identified and met global regulatory compliance?
c. Do we build communication and training protocols to ensure operational and tactical collaboration, not protectionism?

3. Global Collaborative Innovation is the “new” norm (Fact)

a. Do we promote a culture of innovation and idea generation?
b. Do we promote cross business and function communication?
c. Do we look beyond competitors to generate new strategy and opportunity?

4. Enterprise Systems Integration is the “new” norm (Fact)

a. Do we build systems to support global implementation with local customization?
b. Do we promote global enterprise needs analysis to ensure systems are end user friendly and compatible to needs and wants?
c. Do we build support functions that are accessible and adequate to accommodate internal and external needs?

Path Forward Strategy

The following Path Forward Strategy is not a complete list of actions to accommodate the challenge described in the Executive Summary of this document. However, it will provide a high-level perspective on the strategic aspects of a project of this magnitude, which should be considered.

1. Gap analysis

a. Evaluate the organization’s readiness to make the next step in the transformational change process by assessing the gaps in the critical areas defined in this document.

2. Fill the gaps

a. Validate, prioritize, and plan the actions which will fill the gaps identified above.
b. Develop a high-level conceptual implementation plan for executive review.

3. Execute the plan

a. Implement against the plan and measure incrementally to provide for shifts in the strategy

Written by Phil Ventresca, M.B.A.