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Prologue: Demystifying the HR operating model

by | Feb 14, 2024

Employee Experience and Engagement | Future of Work | HR Transformation | Organisation Design | People Planning and Strategy
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Prologue: Demystifying the HR operating model

As the modern business landscape continues to evolve at speed, the role of the HR or People function has become increasingly pivotal in driving organisational success. Against a backdrop of relentless technological advancements, shifting political landscapes and economic fluctuations, businesses are trying to navigate these challenges whilst also striving to capitalise on emerging opportunities to deliver commercial benefits.

Chief People Officers (CPOs) and HR leaders find themselves at the forefront of this tumultuous landscape, tasked with the daunting challenge of driving bottom-line value by attracting and retaining top talent and maximising productivity.


Alongside this, they are looking to bolster their internal HR capability and ask:

Does our HR operating model enable our changing business needs?


While this question is not new, its relevance has been heightened. At LACE, we’ve observed a surge in interest from our HR network, reflecting a growing need to adapt, optimise or ‘rip up and replace’ their existing HR operating models.  

Amidst the sea of differing perspectives and conflicting models available, we are committed to unravelling this complexity. We acknowledge the challenge of achieving a one-size-fits-all solution, and are here to empower you as an HR leader to navigate to the right model for your organisation with confidence. 



Join us as we embark on a journey to demystify the HR operating model, shedding light on its intricacies and equipping CPOs and HR leaders with the insights and tools needed to make informed decisions about aligning their HR functions to drive business success.  

Over the next few months, we will delve into the drivers for change and how to respond.  Your operating model may need to meet new commercial objectives or transformation needs, to align with changing business drivers or tackle functional credibility or capability challenges. We will provide practical guidance and real-world experience to not only understand what isn’t working but also provide strategies and ideas to help you to align with the needs of your function and broader business. Let’s navigate this together!  


What’s coming?

CHAPTER #1: From HR to workforce transformation

Before we delve into HR operating model options, we introduce our research paper, ‘From HR to workforce transformation’. This paper explores how HR functions have an increasing role to play in enabling business transformation. It sets out insights gleaned from discussions with CPOs, business leaders and transformation specialists on the topic of Workforce Transformation examining the question: 

What is HR’s role in business transformation? 

Rooted in our market observations, the research showcases respondents’ views and suggestions, aligning closely with the essence of our HR operating model campaign.  

Our findings shed light on organisational complexities and help guide HR and business leaders through the people side of transformation. We are redefining HR’s role in driving organisational success, and our research paper highlights the importance of workforce optimisation to help achieve the right business outcomes. 

'CPOs: From HR to workforce transformation' whitepaper

five steps to successful Ex whitepaper - employee experience revolution


CHAPTER #2: Cracking the code: Unlocking key HR operating model challenges

We’ll delve into the hurdles and challenges faced by CPOs with their HR operating models, drawing insights from real-world client experiences. This chapter will address common issues and limitations, highlighting the consequences of not having the right HR operating model. 


CHAPTER #3:  Navigating the noise and untangling the HR operating model puzzle

The landscape of HR operating models is a crowded marketplace of conflicting ideas and advice. As a result, just understanding your options can be a big challenge to overcome before fixing your operating model. 

We are here to cut through the noise. We believe there is no ‘one size fits all’ operating model but that doesn’t mean it needs to be a complex process. Instead, this chapter will outline how you can choose the right operating model for your business, aligned with your organisational context and goals.

HR shared services trends report 2024  

We are excited to share insights and findings from our 2024 HR shared services trends report. Since 2020, we have conducted a bi-annual market pulse check with global HR shared services leaders into their priorities, challenges, and specific changes they are making to their operating models and ways of working (services, talent and digital enablers). For example: In the quest for engagement and customer intimacy, what ‘moments’ and journeys are HR shared services teams now focusing on? In the hunt for productivity, is the case for HR shared services to become part of a Global Business Services (GBS) model becoming stronger and what steps are leaders taking to explore generative artificial intelligence? These are just some of the questions we explore in our latest research.

CHAPTER #4: Building an HR operating model that is a business booster

In this chapter, we introduce our business-led HR operating model archetypes. Through four distinct business lenses, we explore how each scenario impacts various aspects of an HR Operating Model, including Business Partners (BPs), Centres of Expertise (CoEs), and Human Resource Shared Services (HRSS), emphasising the limitations of a one-size-fits-all approach and sharing an alternative view that small adjustments and lever-pulling can create a high impact HR function.  

We provide real-world case studies from seasoned CPOs, offering valuable insights and practical application.


CHAPTER #5: Making change stick 

We explore the essential skills, capabilities and mindsets HR professionals need as the function transitions to new ways of working. We also provide practical advice for CPOs on how to successfully implement changes within their HR operating models, emphasising the importance of agility and responsiveness throughout the transformation process.


CHAPTER #6: Unveiling success: Client stories and key insights

In our final chapter, we’ll spotlight valuable lessons and success stories from some of our clients to date, along with sharing key takeaways from the campaign. Additionally, we’ll provide a deep dive of our LACE approach and tools, designed to support you on your HR operating model journey. 

Use the form below to register for our newsletter so you can stay up to date with our  ‘Demystifying the HR Operating Model’ series. Prepare for insightful conversations, actionable strategies, and exclusive networking opportunities with fellow HR professionals. Then, each time we release our latest critical thinking, you’ll get it delivered straight to your inbox!


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