Dancer BlogSIZED
“We are now younger, more ambitious, and more business-focused than ever”, so writes Josh Bersin in Bersin by Deloitte’s Ten Key Predictions for 2016; he writes this about the HR profession given its changing mandate as companies invest heavily in innovation and analytics. Josh goes on to say that HR are “becoming ‘specialist gurus’ who fly in to a business situation, bring our bag of expert HR, diagnose the problem and deliver some kind of innovative solution”.

However, is this how it really works, are HR organisations filled with the right capabilities to deliver innovative solutions? Many organisations that we work with do not have the HR capability in the key positions to work with the business on these critical talent solutions.

The recent Human Capital Trends Report found only 12% of organisations surveyed felt they had the skills required to address their global HR and talent issues. This suggests that HR is being given the mandate but does not have the talent in the function to respond.

So how can we address this issue? How can we ensure that HR functions of the future have the right blend of capabilities to meet the demands of their organisations? Now is the time for HR to drive change internally, re-design their capability requirements to reflect that of the organisation.
Traditionally, HR functions started with the skills and capabilities required by each area, whether that was HR Business Partners, Centre’s of Excellence or Shared Service Centres; these skills were often based on HR technical capability with business insight and understanding a “nice to have”, rather than core competency.

To really make a difference today, HR must develop advanced capabilities that facilitate business growth, deliver insight and enable operational excellence. The skillset of capabilities required are no longer that of a functional specialist – being “very good at HR” is not good enough, or quite frankly what is needed by the business. Today’s businesses require leaders who are able to think strategically across all areas of the business, who provide generalist and specialist representation and insight from their function. This focus on the business skills reflects the trend for talented professionals to be cross functional or move between functions brokering and consulting, and drawing on deep specialisms within the function in support.

To understand these requirements and begin to address the dearth in HR talent we have developed an ‘inside out’ capability model which puts the business requirements at the core, supplemented by business capabilities that are focused around core business and consulting skills. These capabilities are then enhanced by an interchangeable layer of functional HR capabilities which demonstrate a depth of expertise within the function.

This model looks to address some of the key skills that HR needs to help drive the organisation, such as: conceptual reasoning, creativity and innovation, commercialism and customer perspective. This skillset scarcity needs to be addressed by CHROs looking to take HR to the next level.


Our model allows for HR to absorb and attract talent from other parts of the organisation, through developing their functional HR knowledge whilst capitalising on their core business knowledge, to cultivate a truly business centric HR professional.

We believe that HR functions that move to this model will be more likely to have the capabilities in place to fly in to a business situation, bring our bag of expert HR, diagnose the problem and deliver some kind of innovative solution. Organisations that turn their HR capabilities inside out will find that they have a:

  • Flexible and agile HR workforce
  • Wider pool of talent for HR succession plan
  • Customer and business intelligent function
  • Improved future leader capability
  • Increased retention through innovative career paths

HR functions need to look at their capabilities now; it is fantastic that we are talking about the value HR brings to an organisation and not about the ‘death of HR’. However, without a radical change in capabilities there is a danger that HR will not deliver its new exciting mandate.

Mark Bowden0020SIZED

Mark Bowden - HR & Technology Advisory Lead

Mark leads the HR & Technology Advisory Practice at Deloitte in the UK. Mark spent ten years as an HR professional working in industry before taking on a consulting role focused on developing High Impact HR functions.

Mark’s experience is of focusing HR resources on the value they create for an organisation through the services they provide and as a result of that determining the operating model, technology and capabilities required to deliver those services.

The approach that Mark and his team bring to HR transformation is based on an insight led analysis and the use of tools developed by the People Workforce Analytics team within Human Capital.

Mark is a recent winner of the MCA HR Consultant of the Year and was a co-author of the Deloitte High Impact Operating Model.


Laurence Collins0086SIZED

Laurence Collins - HR & Workforce Analytics Lead

Laurence is the leader of the HR & Workforce Analytics Practice at Deloitte in the UK. During a career that has spanned consulting, outsourcing and technology roles he has focused on creating world-class HR solutions through an analytic lens.

His direct experience of building insight-driven HR capability is being harnessed by clients who are seeking to embrace analytic as a source of competitive advantage.  

From the adoption of predictive technologies to manage workforce risks, through to simulations of process improvements, these approaches are being applied across all aspects of HR. Laurence is also working on how best to track the value of this capability and link the resultant business impacts back to HR performance improvement.

He is a regular speaker at industry events and also a media commentator on the transformation challenges facing HR today.


Thanks to our colleagues Jill Trafford and Ankit Shah who researched and supported this blog.



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