While the field has certainly changed, the model used to operate it has not. Eighty-one per cent of HR professionals are still using the Ulrich model, developed by University at Michigan professor David Ulrich in the late 1990s. In order to meet the demands of today’s workforce, however, experts now suggest considering a more “agile” model of HR management.
Under an agile system, HR professionals work on a “supply and demand” basis. When another business department or division has a human capital need, groups of HR professionals are called upon to manage the initiative.
“We’re just starting to see the emergence of those structures in a couple of large scale businesses,” said David Grant, director of The Next Step. “It’s moving toward a professional services consultancy model built around utilisation.”
One of the major benefits of an agile approach to HR is that teams can be quickly mobilised to areas of an organisation that need assistance. Specialists recommend that these teams champion the following competencies:
- Assembling and reassembling swiftly and when needed
- Making quick but well-informed decisions and disbanding when the assignment is complete
- Obtaining outside help when necessary, from sources such as freelancers, outsourcing and business partners
- Continually reviewing performance, and optimising the process as time progresses
“The ability to form a team around an issue, who may come from different parts of the organisation or who are geographically dispersed, and then collaborating to resolve it and then disbanding again, is a large part of agile teaming,” said David Guazzarotto, CEO of Future Knowledge.
The reality of the modern workforce is here: baby boomers are retiring, organisations are becoming flatter, and HR has transformed into a strategic, value-adding function operating at the highest level of business.