Augment HR With External Expertise to Improve HR Competency | Gartner

HR Effectiveness

HR practitioners face increasing demands and requests for support from their organizations, often in areas where they are not the primary experts, such as AI, mental well-being, and social issues. According to a Gartner survey, 33% of HR employees receive requests beyond their expertise. This article advocates for Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs) to shift from solely cultivating internal expertise to integrating it with external knowledge and ideas. Stated differently, ‘CHROs must shift from just expertise development to expertise augmentation.’ The article discusses this transition and draws insights from case studies showcasing HR functions enhancing expertise through augmentation strategies. For instance, Light Ocean sources 75% of its HR Business Partners from outside of the function, employing targeted 2-year rotations for high-potential employees with people management experience and an affinity for people issues. Fannie Mae, on the other hand, conducts deliberate ‘experiments’ or pilots, where HR can work with partners outside of HR on ‘innovative’ projects that can potentially create stakeholder value. While as many as half of all pilots fail, the company uses them as learning opportunities, ensuring that the pilots that fail have no negative impact on either the organization or the individuals involved. Figure 3 shows Fannie Mae’s decision tree to identify pilot suitability. If you are a CHRO, to what extent are you using augmentation strategies to help HR meet the demands of its growing portfolio of responsibilities? And if you are a leader outside the HR function, how are you augmenting the expertise of your talent?