Hr Strategy icon

Optimize the HR Department to Support the Organizational People Strategy

Enhance your HR departmental structure, process, technology, and capability to successfully execute high-value strategic initiatives.

Get Instant Access
to this Blueprint

View Storyboard

Solution Set Storyboard Thumbnail


  • Dave Ulrich, Professor and Author, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan
  • Dennis Miller, Speaker, Author, and Leadership Coach, The Power of Strategic Alignment: A Guide to Energizing Leadership and Maximizing Potential in Today’s Nonprofit Organizations
  • Lisa Jenkins, Process Optimization and Change Management Consultant
  • Michael Hoseus, Executive Director, Center for Quality People & Organizations (CQPO)
  • Jennifer Riel, Managing Director, Knowledge Infrastructure Project, Co- Author of Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works, University of Toronto, Rotman School of Business
  • Harleen Smith, CHRO, Houston Airport System
  • Danielle Mandell, VP of People, Habitat for Humanity (Greater Toronto Area)
  • Tracey Pope, Chief People Officer, Canadian Red Cross
  • VP of Human Resources and Administration, Texas Insurer
  • Carol Beatty, Director of the Industrial Relations Center, Queens University, President, Warp Speed Training Enterprises

Your Challenge

  • A people strategy guides HR department optimization efforts, allowing HR to assess the effort required to complete people initiatives and prioritize accordingly.
  • HR departments become trapped in administrative activities, forcing them to push strategic ones aside.
  • Below average effectiveness scores for almost all HR strategic areas (strategic planning, organizational design, change management, metrics and analytics) suggests substantial room for improvement (McLean & Company Trends and Priorities 2016, N=555).

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • While the push is for HR to be more strategic, HR also needs to ensure transactional activities are being done efficiently. Increased transactional efficiency gives HR the ability to focus on the most impactful and highest value strategic activities.
  • Regular, open, and honest communication ensures your departmental activities are aligned with the people strategy, thereby driving organizational results.

Impact and Result

  • An aligned and optimized HR department supports the people strategy to achieve organizational goals. Once strategic priority areas are identified in the people strategy, HR then has to identify how the department can best support the execution of the people strategy.
  • While the push is for HR to be more strategic, HR must first ensure transactional activities are being done efficiently. By maximizing efficiency, HR will free up resources to focus on high-impact and high-value strategic initiatives. Increasingly, HR must become more efficient and effective to meet growing demands.
  • An effective HR department supports organizational goals by evaluating and matching the HR structure to that of the organization, optimizing transactional HR activities and building appropriate HR capabilities.

Research & Tools

1. Identify departmental strengths and opportunities

Review the organizational people strategy and top-priority function, and identify departmental areas of improvement.

2. Design the appropriate HR structure

Understand the various HR structures available, and design the HR structure that best suits your organization.

3. Refine HR processes and examine HR technology

Optimize processes to improve efficiency and impact, and evaluate the benefits of outsourcing and shared accountability through self-service.

4. Assess required departmental capabilities

Determine and evaluate capability, and clarify and plan for roles required to meet strategic objectives.

5. Implement and manage HR change

Develop an HR departmental action plan, communicate to organizational stakeholders, and manage departmental change.

Guided Implementations

This guided implementation is a ten call advisory process.

Guided Implementation #1 - Identify departmental strengths and opportunities

Call #1 - Review diagnostic data to identify strengths and opportunities.
Call #2 - Assess optimization options.

Guided Implementation #2 - Design the appropriate HR structure

Call #1 - Assess organizational structure and understand HR structure options.
Call #2 - Design appropriate HR structure.

Guided Implementation #3 - Refine HR processes and examine HR technology

Call #1 - Review strategic activities to ensure alignment with people strategy.
Call #2 - Evaluate process improvement options.

Guided Implementation #4 - Assess required departmental capabilities

Call #1 - Assess whether capability issues stem from lack of competency or lack of capacity.
Call #2 - Identify the appropriate resourcing decision.

Guided Implementation #5 - Implement and manage HR change

Call #1 - Identify affected groups and prepare to lead through change.
Call #2 - Review data and prepare for an executive meeting to share project progress.

Onsite Workshop

Unlock This Blueprint

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: Assess the HR Department and Design Appropriate Structure

The Purpose

  • Identify HR departmental areas of improvement.
  • Design the HR structure that best suits the organization.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Areas of improvement identified.
  • Designed the HR structure that best meets organizational needs.




Identify people strategy and top-priority functions.

  • Identified the organizational people strategy and top-priority functions.

Analyze stakeholder management feedback and additional employee data.

  • Analyzed stakeholder management feedback and employee data.

Determine the path to optimization.

  • Determined the path to optimization.

Assess organizational structure.

  • Assessed organizational structure.

Design your HR structure.

  • Designed your HR structure.

Module 2: Refine HR Processes

The Purpose

  • Assess current HR efficiency.
  • Map out processes to improve HR efficiency and impact.
  • Clarify HR roles and responsibilities.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Mapped out processes that can help to improve HR efficiency and impact.
  • Clarified HR’s required skills and competencies.
  • Identified HR role duplications or gaps in responsibilities.




Sort strategic and transactional activities.

  • Sorted strategic and transactional activities.

Rate HR activity efficiency.

  • Rated HR activity efficiency.

Map out and improve current processes.

  • Mapped out how to improve current process.

Complete a strategic activity RACI matrix.

  • Completed a strategic activity RACI matrix.

Clarify roles and responsibilities within HR.

  • Clarified roles and responsibilities within HR.

Module 3: Plan and Manage for HR Change

The Purpose

  • Create an action plan.
  • Draft a communication plan.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Created an action plan and a communication plan.




Document and prioritize optimization activities.

  • Documented and prioritized optimization activities.

Complete a communications plan.

  • Completed drafting a communications plan.