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Unite the HR team around the priorities of all stakeholders

You’ll already know Dave Ulrich‘s HR operating model and if you’re in HR you’re likely to be living a version of it.

There’s been a lot of buzz about new operating models for HR, with some graphic representations that look initially impressive. However, when you look closely and think it through, they’re just too complex. They’re all logical, but don’t look relatable to the rather messy real world of HR where anything can happen, and does, every day.

What I’ve learned from working with clients is that you don’t need a radical restructure. They’ve mostly got the right operating model, but it’s lost alignment and focus.

So let’s stick with what works, and embed it fully and build stronger capabilities.

Here’s my build on the Ulrich model, and thank you to Dave for discussing it with me. This is, to a large part, the original concept.

Key points:

  1. The teams or circles need to overlap as much as possible – no distance between them.
  2. They need both purpose and KPIs that they share with the business.
  3. The interface between the teams is key – and in the overlaps I’ve given examples of questions they could explore together.
  4. Most importantly, they’re encompassed by the spirit of being One HR Team, creating value for all stakeholders.


I realise that this isn’t rocket science, but that’s a strength, isn’t it? We need ways of working that are easy to understand and make work.

What do you think? Views welcomed!

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