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Redesign of Work Systems

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HR functions have expanded during recent years to include their traditional roles of administrative and operational to their new roles as consulting and project-based tasks to enhance strategic business advantages. As an organization grows, HR should be able to support all the new functions and transactional activities of the organization.

Two of the most common HR design models are described in this article, “(Re) Designing the HR Organization.” The first model is the Business Partner model which has three components: a customer-facing front end, a product-focused back end and an operational service center. Each part of this model has a distinct and separate set of responsibilities and rules. The major challenge with this model is how to merge these separate components to provide their customers with continuous and smooth service. One problem area in this model is the strain between the front-end and the back-end. Another issue is that the HR staff is committed to line of business work and thus the model is not flexible to address other concerns when the need arises. One other issue is how to capably provide organizational development work without sacrificing the high volume of transactional work. Some of these issues can be managed by fostering a relationship between the front-end and the specialists. This model is successful as a transitional organization design model.

A second HR design model is the Solutions Center that contains the three components of the Business Partner model with a new component added, a group of efficient specialists that provide and support the back-end centers of expertise and the front-end generalists. This model has small front-end customer relations teams with a large team of specialists that work on parts of the organization that have varying human capital requirements. This model allows for the ability to field out teams from any division of HR to cater to the various dimensions of the business, have a more in-depth understanding of HR issues and trends, flexibility in the use of resources.  In this model, team work, trust and communication among colleagues are necessities for its success.

With the ever expanding functions of HR, it is imperative to start defining roles, mutually dependent relationships and boundaries which will permit the HR department to operate efficiently and be flexible in the organization and thus ensure their importance in the organization.

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