Monday, August 16, 2010

Constructing an HR "All-Star Team"

As the economy recovers and companies are examining all areas of the business under an efficiency lens, HR is no exception.  There are many blogs, articles and keynotes on the topic of what will HR 2.0 look like.  You hear answers from it should be "blown up" to it should "not even exist" and all iterations in between.

I read a really good article by Dave Zielinksi in August 2010 HR Magazine entitled, "Building a Better HR Team."  Zielinksi discusses Google's "three-thirds" HR staffing model.  Below is the premise for Google's model:

1) 1/3 of the HR team have HR background s and bring expertise in employee relations along with other specialist expertise like benefits and compensation.
2) 1/3 of the HR team has little or no HR background and come from strategic consulting firms or internally from Google's sales and engineering departments.  These individuals are embedded in the business as consultants.
3) 1/3 of the HR team are the quant jocks.  They are statisticians, PhD's in finance and organizational psychology.  Their jib is organizational analytics especially the predictive kind.

Not all organizations have Google's resources and the ability to have PhD's on staff, but the theory behind this model is one that I love.  Here is why:

1) It is very strategic by putting consultants in the business that understand business and help solve problems.
2) Subject matter experts in HR are used as specialist in the right way
3) Analytics is given priority as we truly have to work smarter with less, data allows you to make smarter decisions.

I have been telling my students for years that in HR, or whatever we wind up calling the function, that "we are business people first and HR people second."  Now, that is often met with some very strong opinions but I believe that it is easier to teach a business person HR than it is to teach an HR person the business.  It is not impossible,  but as an HR person you have to have that motivation of really wanting to "get how business runs."

Another interesting aspect of Google's model is that you cross-pollinate between each of the 3 areas mentioned above.  It makes the transitions from business person to HR person and vice versa much easier when you are learning from peers and real time projects.

What would your HR All-Star team look like?  Please give us your feedback on this interesting topic.
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