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Build HR Capabilities

Ensure competencies and capacity are ready in time to meet strategic goals.


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  • Marie-Helene Budworth, Associate Professor, York University - School of Human Resource Management
  • Linda Haft, Director of Human Resources and Administration, Magnolia River
  • Irwin Jankovic, Strategic Program Manager of the Human Resources Group, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
  • Lori Kleiman, Author, “Fire HR NOW! Working with R to shape up or ship out.”
  • Sonya Lee, Vice President of Human Resources & Organization Development, URAC
  • Patrice Matejka, Director of HR Business Partners, Corporate Compensation & Talent Acquisition, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
  • Robin Schooling, Managing Director, Silver Zebras and Blogger, HR Schoolhouse
  • Paul Sparrow, Director, Centre for Performance-led HR

Your Challenge

  • HR leaders rarely assess the competency and capacity of their team from a holistic view, leaving them out of sync with organizational needs.
  • Assessing HR capabilities is difficult without the right tools; many HR leaders are required to make important staffing decisions using educated guesses or hunches.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • McLean & Company’s 2015 HR Trends and Priorities report shows that only 16% of non-HR respondents think that HR is “very effective.”
  • The report also shows that organizational headcount is outpacing HR headcount, meaning HR teams will have a tough time changing perception.
  • McLean & Company’s 2015 HR Trends and Priorities data shows that organizational turnover is affected by HR’s effectiveness in a variety of core service areas – particularly Talent Acquisition. This reduction in turnover translates into a significant organizational benefit – especially if you consider that cost of turnover estimates range from 25-150% of an employee’s annual salary.
  • This means that HR capability has an effect on the bottom line and the overall productivity of the organization.

Impact and Result

  • Know the long-term needs of the organization to establish an HR team now that can handle these needs by the time they arise. This project requires an HR strategy to already be in place so that organizational strategy is understood and prioritized.
  • Use McLean & Company diagnostics to get a more comprehensive understanding of HR satisfaction levels, HR accountability, capacity requirements, and other pertinent data.
  • Design a team with roles that support organizational priorities. Expand on these roles using competencies and associated proficiency levels to ensure that you are filling those roles with the right talent.
  • Explore all your different staffing options, including up-skilling, internal hiring, outsourcing, and more, to make cost and time-effective decisions that benefit your team.

Research & Tools

1. Assess business alignment & delivery

Determine organizational priorities and where HR can deliver value in the long term.

2. Design team structure

Create a structure and HR roles that allow you to effectively support the HR strategy.

3. Assess current capability & fill roles

Analyze which services are most suitable to carry forward.

4. Communicate & manage

Manage stakeholder expectations and the budget for future phases.

Guided Implementations

This guided implementation is a five call advisory process.

Call #1 - Understand the purpose of the HR capabilities project, the impact it can have on your team/organization, and the data that supports its importance.
Call #2 - Discuss the inputs of the project (including HR strategy and the McLean & Company diagnostics), plan for diagnostic assessment, and understand how capability issues manifest.
Call #3 - Learn how to take feedback and apply it in the creation of your HR structure and roles. Assess required competency and capacity to deliver on organizational needs.
Call #4 - Learn how to create talent profiles and outline skills for current team members. Make decisions regarding staffing decisions, and explore the factors that go into this decision-making process.
Call #5 - Understand best-practice communication techniques. Learn how to share changes with the HR team and the organization as a whole. Discuss ongoing tracking and metrics.

Onsite Workshop

Discuss This Workshop

Book Your Workshop

Onsite workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Prepare to Start the HR Capabilities Project

The Purpose

  • Preparation for the workshop.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Workshop is organized and relevant to organization.




Scope the project.

  • Project is defined.

Review the current composition/size of the HR team and organizational structure.

  • Workshop facilitator is prepared and understands the unique needs of the organization.

Conduct HR Management & Governance Diagnostic and HR Stakeholder Management Survey.

  • Diagnostic feedback is available, improving the quality of the project.

Module 2: Make the Case and Review Data

The Purpose

  • Understand the benefits of the project.
  • Workshop facilitator and HR leader review diagnostics and HR strategy to get deeper understanding of current situation and needs. 

Key Benefits Achieved

  • HR team is bought in to the project.
  • Current HR situation is understood with some degree of complexity/data to support analysis. 




Review Make the Case section for the HR capabilities project.


Review data from diagnostics and HR strategy project (where applicable).

  • Understanding of diagnostic data; key problems pinpointed.

Review HR strategy.

  • HR strategic areas identified.

Establish organizational priorities & effect on HR.

  • Understanding of future HR needs established.

Assess the strategic maturity of all functions.

  • Areas of strategic maturity change identified.

Module 3: Determine HR Capabiltiies Requirements

The Purpose

  • Create HR capacity and competency requirements based on identified organizational priorities and HR feedback.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • HR capacity needs established.
  • HR competency needs established.
  • New/amended HR structure and roles are outlined. 




Review current HR structure.


Assess capacity requirements.

  • Capacity requirements established.

Establish HR competencies.

  • HR competencies established.

Begin expanding on roles through role design process.

  • Role design completed (at least partially).

Module 4: Fill Roles and Implement

The Purpose

  • Determine how to fit current team members into the new structure when good role alignment occurs. 
  • Make resourcing and staffing decisions where there is need.
  • Determine implementation process, including communication points and metrics tracking. 

Key Benefits Achieved

  • New structure is established and filled with employees.
  • Development plans/resourcing next steps are established and decided upon.
  • Implementation process is outlined. 




Fill out talent profiles.

  • Talent profiles completed.

Discuss resourcing possibilities.

  • Resourcing options understood and decisions made.

Assign roles and create development plans and next steps.

  • Staffing decisions made.
  • Development plans initiated.

Module 5: Communicate and Manage

The Purpose

  • Ensure that plan is feasible.
  • Ensure that HR capabilities project success is being monitored for duration of 12 months. 

Key Benefits Achieved

  • HR capabilities plan is allowed to succeed pending budget and timeline approval.
  • Success is monitored and changes are made if success does not occur. 




Review communications strategy.

  • Communications strategy established.

Discuss which metrics to use based on organizational priorities.

  • Metrics established.

Evaluate budget & next steps.

  • Finalized HR capabilities plan

Review progress in 3 months.


Revisit key metrics & diagnostics in 12 months.

  • Metrics reviewed and changes made if required.

Search Code: 76242
Published: October 20, 2014
Last Revised: February 23, 2015