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HR Operations in the lift (HR Trends 2017, 6)

20th, February 2017
0 Comment
by Tom Haak
in  Trends in HR

HR Operations

HR operations has been highly undervalued. The last years we have seen an upgrade of HR Operations that will continue in 2017. Most likely HR can add most value in the HR operations area. The requirements for the people in HR operations are different though, and probably we need a new breed of HR professionals who can run HR as a service organisation.

Everybody wanted to become a strategic business partner

Dave Ulrich Model

Twenty years ago Ulrich and Brockbank published their famous HR business partner model, in their book Human Resources Champions. Although not the intention of the authors, there were clearly perceived differences in status between the different roles. Especially on the dimension Strategic vs Operational, most HR professionals favoured strategic above operational. For years the ambition of most HR professionals was to become a real strategic business partner. Unfortunately many HR professionals did not have the skills and experience to realise their ambition. Who wanted to become an “Administrative Expert”? With large organisations in the lead, we have seen a slow revival of HR Operations, and today the status of people who are responsible for HR Operations does not seem to be lower than those with more strategic responsibilities.

A typical HR organisation


Basic Architecture HR

Last year we outlined the basic architecture of HR organisations. Most people in HR are in HR Operations. For most people, managers and employees,  the HR portal is the first contact with HR. The first line operators in the HR Service center are very important: they can help when online no solutions can be found. HR Operations can often learn a lot from the hospitality industry. Happy customers, reflected in high net promotor scores, are key for HR operations.

Further Reading



Illustration: Studio Fee Overbeeke


 Trends in HR series, a selection:

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About the Author: Tom Haak


Tom Haak is the founder and director of The HR Trend Institute. Prior to founding the HR Trend Institute in 2014, Tom held senior HR positions in companies as Arcadis, Aon, KPMG and Philips. The HR Trend Institute detects, follows and encourages smart and creative use of trends in the field of people and organizations, and also in adjacent areas.