Does your HR Team need a rebrand? What’s in a name?

Today’s blog was born from a discussion on our HR on the Offensive podcast, where Chris and Emma from LACE Partners talked through one of the chapters of: The Future of HR Shared Services: Becoming People and Solutions Experts. The chapter ‘What’s in a name?' addresses questions HR Shared Services teams need to ask themselves; around their terminology, whether a form of an internal rebrand is needed, or perhaps just to challenge other parts of the business to change their perspective on HR.

Are you challenging some of the misconceptions of HR shared services that exist within your business?

When the research was published in late 2020 what we found fascinating to hear – from a large number of our contributors – was how in some organisations there is still a perception that HR Shared Services is there to perform admin and transactional work only, to be subservient to other parts of the HR function and also the wider business. Is this a legacy view in some organisations? Perhaps it is. Many organisations we spoke to had a mature enough Shared Services model to challenge this perception. For example, those that had digitised a number of their services or brought new services in, taking activities on from the Centres of Excellence (CoEs) like end-to-end recruitment, taking on the strategic talent activities into the HR Shared Services function.

As businesses look to optimise their operating model the value of the Shared Services model becomes clear; it is the engine room, but our whitepaper contributors agreed that HR Shared Services teams could be better at positioning the value that the function can create.

Have you re-communicated your service value proposition to your business?

Even organisations we spoke to that explicitly focused on employee experience admited that many teams had not redefined and recommunicated their service proposition and value proposition to the rest of the business. Some businesses we spoke to were still not clear in articulating; “I am a coach, manager and adviser in the work that I deliver for the business”,  failing to remove themselves from the perception outside of their function that they were anything but “I am focused on transaction and operational activity”. The two are completely different value propositions and should be communicated accordingly.

How can the legacy world of HR Shared Services be the driver of employee experience or people experience?

Actions always speak louder than words. It is not just about rebranding yourselves as the ‘People Experiences Team’ as opposed to ‘HR Operations Team’. You can change the name but you need to be clear on what is fundamentally different about what you stand for. Are you clearly communicating that “we are here to drive excellent experience”?

Ask yourself:

Do you know what the experiences are that you want to create?

Do you have clear measures of success?

Do you have continuous improvement mechanisms in place to help you constantly evolve your operating model?

And finally does that cement and solidify the ambition and perception you want to create?

What does your business need you to do?

The chapter we focus on first in the report is there because we want you to think about where you want your function to go. You don’t necessarily need to think about a formal rebrand; if you are just thinking about how you change that internal perception and you are clear on what you want to achieve, that is key.

It is also important to fully understand what your business wants and where it needs you to be. Traditionally HR has been a function which is about process, compliance – all things people related – and many businesses still require that level of operational delivery. What we have seen more and more of however is organisations looking to their HR Shared Services function and requiring more of a trusted advisor approach; a coach, guide or mentor. There is no right or wrong answer here; you need to be prepared to ask your business the questions that will help you understand in which direction you are going. For example do you want to automate more processes,  are you looking to standardise or to personalise?

You have to be driven by your customers and they are the people that sit within your business.

What questions should you ask yourself right now?

The report itself offers some challenge questions. We want you to take stock, reflect, look at your ambition and vision, driving innovative ideas. To get you started we’ve listed some of those challenge questions below:

  • What is the experience you are trying to deliver?
  • What type of relationship do you want to have with the rest of HR and the business?
  • Does the name of your function reflect your ambition?

If you would like to speak to us about your approach to the way you position yourself within your business, please feel free to reach out to Emma directly –

Download the white paper here