HR Transformation: Common Pitfalls and Tried and True Tips | The RBL Group

HR Effectiveness

This article by Dave Ulrich and Norm Smallwood highlights four common pitfalls in HR transformation and provides tips on overcoming them. One pitfall (#2) is defining the structure of HR before understanding what makes the business distinctive. To help HR leaders grasp this distinctiveness and organize the HR function to support it, the article distinguishes four types of work. 1) Advantage Work directly impacts customer value and distinctiveness. 2) Strategic Work leverages advantage work. 3) Essential Work includes the necessary day-to-day tasks that keep the business running smoothly and must be done well enough. 4) Non-essential Work should be eliminated. While HR does not directly perform Advantage Work (the business does this), it should identify and build capabilities around the strategic work that supports Advantage Work (e.g., talent acquisition, development, compensation practices, etc., are strategic when applied to the Advantage work of the business). Dave and Norm advise that HR should organize itself by separating strategic work from essential work: “If the types of work are not separated, it’s virtually impossible to get strategic work done.” As a bonus, I am resharing my 2016 article, Linking Talent Strategy With Business Strategy, which ties into how business capabilities are the link between business and HR strategies, one of Dave and Norm’s other insights mentioned in their article.