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The speed of disruption and consumer expectation facing the enterprise is having a huge affect on how organizations structure themselves.

And the knock-on effect of these changes internally means that workers’ demands on HR are increasing exponentially too. Then there are the other factors to consider; from geo-political instability, to advances in technologies like AI and robotics. It’s all bringing further ambiguity into the arena of human resources.

But the enterprise is looking to HR to meet and respond to this disruption head on. Together, it’s building pressure on the traditional tools and structure of HR, with existing ways of working creaking at the seams. It’s time for HR to stop its individualistic focus on such things as competence, talent and performance management, and start combining these traditional priorities with a new, wider workforce perspective. Embracing such themes as workforce shaping, team-based reward, and experience design – and delivering a genuine, evidence-based architecture that addresses all employees – enabling the best of everyone at work.

Back in 2017, KPMG highlighted a clear dichotomy between ‘enlightened’ HR functions – those boldly engaged in the strategic transformation of HR, and ‘unenlightened’ teams – those faltering amid the uncertainty as the digital era redefines the world around them.1 From KPMG’s experiences working with multinational organizations since 2017, this gap has only widened. In fact, only 40% of HR leaders had a digital work plan in place at the enterprise or HR level.2

To meet these challenges head on, we know that the new HR function must start to be more:

  • project based
  • agile
  • digitally enabled

…all while reducing operating costs. But that can be tough on top of day-to-day tasks.

To remain of value to the business, and in order to maintain a strong leadership position, it’s vital that HR itself rises to the opportunity to drive people change. And with the right operating model for HR, this need not be as far out of reach as it may currently seem.

Stop relying on the cloud alone

Many HR teams look to the cloud as a panacea – but simply plugging into the cloud alone will not necessarily deliver the data-driven insights, smarter decision making, real value for the bottom line or anything near the cloud’s actual vast capabilities to redefine HR and engage more effectively with its workers. This requires proactively changing the culture and underlying operating model of HR itself.

Start developing an operating model for tomorrow

HR organizations looking to jump-start with the cloud need an operating model built for tomorrow and beyond – enabling them to envisage and deliver on drivers of change, such as:

  • timely and affordable deployment of HR solutions
  • an intuitive user experience and greater engagement of those systems across the business
  • new levels of mobile accessibility between the business and its workers
  • smarter decision-making between teams and departments
  • workforce efficiencies that can pre-empt the demands of tomorrow.

Powered Enterprise helps businesses to deliver on all of this, providing greater visibility and the capability to maximise the utilization of scarce resource across departments.

Ensuring success

Our research has highlighted that, of failed HR transformation initiatives surveyed, 90% had not identified measures of success1. So, it’s clear that to help ensure success requires a well-defined sense of where you are going and what you expect to achieve. This can be best envisaged with a ‘future-state operating model’. This vision of the organization of tomorrow can enable clarity when changing roles and structures in line with your transformation, and helps ensure you have the right change management capabilities in place. With a map of the ‘end-state’, streamlined processes and improvements in cost efficiency provided by new systems can often be brought forward. A future-state vision not only speeds delivery; it helps stakeholder collaboration and extends the strategic conversations you are able to have – all without losing focus on your day job.

Take the lead

HR organizations on a clear path of transformation demonstrate strong, proactive and informed leadership; enabling HR teams to take on the role of change agent. You will likely only have time for this and be able to keep pace with the change trajectory with a clearly mapped out end-state model to work towards. What will be waiting for teams that stop old habits and start to adopt the new model?

  • A new mind-set that understands the digital era, able to maximize on the potential of relevant technologies, enabling humans and digital to
  • work together effectively
  • A redefined understanding of the value of the HR function – making it evidence based and providing a stronger voice within the business
  • Deeper understanding of skill and how resource can be best utilized in a changing and increasingly digitally-led environment
  • Workforces that are tailored to your evolving business, with reskilling and recruitment more easily planned and effected
  • Employees treated like customers; driving deeper engagement and satisfaction levels that drive a competitive edge for your enterprise within its industry.


1 HR Transformation: Which lens are you using? KPMG International, 2017.

2 2019 HR survey, KPMG

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