The purpose of our HR Success Model is to illustrate the links between the work that HR does and the business outcomes towards which HR contributes.
This has always been challenging. HR work typically enables others to do their work and deliver results – for all of the organisation’s stakeholders. The relationship between HR’s efforts and their impact is often an indirect one. HR people tend to understand this implicitly. However, in order for HR to build their credibility and reputation as partners and leaders in business success, we must make these links explicit.
We have developed the HR Success Model as a tool for thinking this through. We offer these steps and questions for you to consider:
Go to our page Success Model for more detail on how to explore this further.
We use the analogy of a machine – say, a vehicle. Just as a sports car is very different from a container lorry, so are organisations very different.
Every organisation has a unique formula. If you know your unique formula, and the special ingredients of your offering and your brand, you can sustain it and make the right kind of improvements.
It also makes it easier for HR leaders and teams to be able to distinguish, and explain, exactly what the priorities are for them and why. An organisation’s culture, for example, is unique and a critical part of their formula for success.
The way an organisation interacts with its market, customers and community is via its people. HR enables and influences that in many ways, and through different channels, processes, initiatives and behaviours.
Let’s see if you can work this through for your organisation.
We will turn the Success Model onto its side so that we can work up the layers. In this example, we use a retail organisation as we will all recognise how that works:
Now be more specific about the HR activities in your own organisation, in your own language. When you’re talking with senior leaders, it is more compelling to start from the results end, on the right hand side. For example, ‘to deliver 5% growth in sales, our research says that customer retention is vital. We need to develop the capabilities of sales managers to develop and retain our best sales people. In our particular sector, we know that we get the best results when sales people focus on building the relationship rather than pushing for the sale. As well as developing those behaviours, we need to tackle the way we reward sales managers …’
Using a sales example is more straightforward than many functions; often it’s more complex.
Think of what you do in HR in your organisation – the regular processes, meetings and conversations, as well as the larger initiatives. See where they fit into this process, below:
For example, we know that the way leaders role model an organisation’s culture and values is critical. But why? What happens if you have leaders who undermine (probably unconsciously) the core values? Let’s take innovation. If leaders don’t allow their people to try new ideas, or fail to support them when they get something wrong, then they will be frustrated when their people don’t show initiative. That helps HR and L&D to make the case for investment in their development initiatives in leadership.
This level looks at how it works in practice, explaining how building the right conditions for HR will result in better results. This explains why HR must have a seat at the table when it matters.
Here we dig even deeper, to explore the indicators of how well HR support their organisation – the quality of the relationships and therefore the relevance of their solutions and activities.
This layer of questions helps us to review strategically with an organisation to what extent their HR function delivers what they need. It helps us to clarify how business leaders can support HR, and also to challenge HR leaders to review how well they interact with the business.
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