In EY’s study How do you ensure you are automating intelligently, we find that there is an opportunity to use automation to free up to 29% of time currently spent on lower-level administrative tasks within the HR function. In this context, the “people impact” of the workforce on business outcomes and long-term value creation are undeniable.
The game-changer for businesses today is the digitalization of the HR function, if leaders get it right. The pace of innovation and the stability of tried and tested HR software solutions are driving a radical change in how “HR work” gets done.
By maximizing use of integrated cloud solutions and leveraging all forms of intelligent automation, HR leaders are seizing control of their own destiny and creating capacity to tackle vulnerable people points in their value chains. Great HR leaders are now going directly after top-line impact and bottom-line performance – and all the value contributions in between. A measured approach to organization design sits at the core of unleashing this potential.
An integrated, horizontally-structured organization design is characterized by outcomes that are co-owned by the business, the workforce and its HR function. Crucially, all roads to horizontal impact prompt significant changes in the service delivery model for HR and there are eight practical implications resulting from a digitally-enabled people operating model.
1. Digital enablement
Digital enablement is now doing up to 40% of work formerly undertaken by HR professionals. This is a result of capitalizing on cloud technology investments and embracing intelligent automation across all HR functions.
If you lead a 500-person global HR team, what impact could you have with the equivalent of 200 people professionals who now have the capacity to focus on higher-value people contributions in the business?
Automation enables delivery of HR work across every part of the employee lifecycle. Everything from HR planning and strategy to labor relations and talent acquisition should be reimagined to take advantage of cloud, advanced analytics, machine learning, robotic process automation, artificial intelligence and chatbot capabilities.
3. Self-service from any screen
Direct digital access from any screen replaces client-facing HR and reinvents self-service. Consumer-grade user experiences on smart devices at work unlock the full potential of self-service.
Today, managers and employees can do more while riding the elevator or when operating outside of the traditional office environment than ever before.
4. People Solutions and Services (PSS) taking on specialist work
There is an intentional effort to accomplish moderately complex and operational specialist work from the PSS center of excellence in compensation, benefits, core HR, talent acquisition, talent management and nearly every other specialty area of HR.
From annual merit process administration to driving completion of quarterly performance check-ins, many “steady-state” operational tasks are now being undertaken by PSS.
5. PSS taking on generalist work from HR Business Partners
In many organizations today, there exist HR generalists with business partner titles that continue to just get HR work done locally for the business. Tomorrow, this work will be intentionally serviced from PSS to give those same business partners the bandwidth and capability to serve as people strategists.
From annual merit process administration to driving completion of quarterly performance check-ins, many steady-state operational tasks are now being done from PSS.
6. People Consultants taking on other work historically handled by HR Business Partners
In any given week, an HR business partner may spend 20% to 60% of their time supporting employee relations issues within their business unit – often at the expense of strategic priorities. Tomorrow, redefined “People Consultants” operate as true product and service owners who not only design but stabilize the adoption of services, then turn steady-state operational responsibilities over to PSS.
7. People Consultants acting as product owners to fortify existing and introduce new services
The innovation hub of HR takes the form of agile consulting teams and product owners who problem-solve with the business and set the strategic direction for a portfolio of people services that include Workforce Planning, People Analytics, Organization Design and Development, Culture, Leadership, Employee Experience and Total Rewards.
8. People strategists, creating strategy
People strategists don’t simply claim to be strategic – they are. The next generation is enabled by new data technology and analytics in ways like never before.
Often sourced from the business, People Strategists are equipped to serve as “people athletes” who innately understand how value is created and destroyed across organizational value chains. They guide and advise the People Consultants who work side by side with other functions to enhance outcomes: top line, bottom line and every operational wicket in between.
Transforming for a reimagined future
By making a series of intentional adjustments in your people operating model, leveraging the best available opportunities available through intelligent automation as an integral part of this process, you are reimagining how HR work gets done, crystallizing the accountability for work completion and creating capacity to reinvest in a horizontal people services structure.
This is a future in which your people professionals are liberated to deliver value in new ways: for example, scrum teams work “customer back,” roles and reporting lines are replaced by a talent cloud where skills are the new currency and shared outcomes such as culture and engagement replace traditional KPIs.
At the same time, 80% of what HR does today is reimagined to deliver exceptional experiences across the employee lifecycle, personalize at scale while driving service delivery efficiency, and make it easy for managers and employees to get the people services they need from any screen at any time.