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Refine the HR Organizational Structure and Optimize Department Efficiency

Whether your organization is requiring you to grow or is asking you to cut down on costs, make sure that your department is structurally efficient.


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  • Amy Kates, Managing Partner, Kates Kesler Organization Consulting
  • Avi Singer, Training and Organizational Development Consultant
  • Joanne Taylor, President, Pinch HR Services Inc.
  • John Hovnanian, VP Human Resources, Intermedix
  • Peter Reilly, Director, HR Research & Consultancy

Your Challenge

  • HR structures often just “happen” and fall into place over time without much effort being spent on business strategy and direction.
  • HR leaders are too focused on putting out fires to address the long-term needs of their department, and the organization.
  • Redesigning the HR department seems daunting and it’s not always clear where to start.
  • Business strategy or needs have changed and HR must be proactive in making changes necessary to support the business direction.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • HR structure must be designed based on business strategy and key drivers. Many HR organizations have simply evolved without much consideration as to whether or not they are successfully supporting business strategies. Align your structure to place HR in the best position to support achievement of business goals, and ensure that your department is capable of meeting future needs and adapting to changes.
  • If you have already ruled out programs or people as being the primary source of your HR department issues, structure could be the underlying problem; by modifying your department design using informed choices, you can optimize the efficiency of the HR team and reduce overall costs, as well as improving morale within the HR team.

Impact and Result

  • Develop a new or modified structure that enables your HR team to work effectively and efficiently.
  • Align more closely with business needs and future goals.
  • Determine next steps and actions for employees within the HR department to eliminate skill gaps and reduce overages or redundancies.

Research & Tools

1. Redesign the HR department structure

Improve department efficiency, respond to company growth, or respond to cost setbacks.

2. Conduct business interviews and a group discussion with the HR leadership team

Receive informed feedback on HR gaps and needed changes, and determine areas of change.

3. Document inputs, assess current state and desired state, and perform a skills & capabilities assessment and cost analysis

Select new structure based on collected data, determine employee movement and role changes within new structure, and determine overall cost of changes.

4. Determine the accountabilities and key mandates of the HR leadership team

Ensure clarity among the team and eliminate work duplication/overlaps as well as conflict.

5. Pitch the redesign plan to the CEO to get approval

Secure buy-in from the executive team and allow the project to proceed.

6. Communicate the redesign and its effects to the HR department and the organization at large

Secure buy-in from employees, and achieve clarity within the HR department and within the business as to how changes will affect operations.

Guided Implementations

This guided implementation is a four call advisory process.

Call #1 - Understand your options

Review drivers, structure options, and organizational design principles to optimize your HR structure and ensure that you have key understanding of the options available to you in this project. Determine if other external options are an avenue you would wish to explore further.

Call #2 - Gather data and select a structure

Review business inputs and consolidated information as well as objectives and parameters, discuss structural options and selections, interpret results of gap analysis, and discuss organizational design principles.

Call #3 - Arrange your team within the new structure

Assess current team’s capabilities, identify resource shortages or surpluses with HR leadership team, determine HR leaders’ accountabilities using RACI charts, select metrics/scorecard method, create and present business proposal.

Call #4 - Communicate and monitor

Create a communication plan for HR and business teams, have each of the function leaders complete the RACI chart with their teams, finalize metrics and determine key milestones, discuss short- and long-term plans for success.

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: HR Department Redesign

The Purpose

  • Develop your understanding of the various department structures and organizational design principles.
  • Interpret business inputs with HR leadership team to decide on priorities and identify changes.
  • Set objectives/parameters to outline the scope of the project and goal set.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Knowledge of various options for your structure.
  • Structure project promotes alignment to business.
  • A realistic and informed scope for the project.
  • Key goals to be achieved from redesign.




Understand organizational design principles, and structure options as well as the McLean & Company framework


Discuss the results of the business leadership team interviews

  • HR leadership team feedback based on business inputs

Identify department gaps/overages and areas of needed change


Set objectives and parameters for redesign

  • A list of objectives and parameters for the redesign project

Conduct gap analysis & select structure

  • Final structure decision/design

Module 2: HR Skills & Capabilities Assessment

The Purpose

  • Pinpoint specific skills gaps/overages and employee role changes as it relates to the new organizational design structure.
  • Make informed decisions concerning changes you may need to make as part of the redesign.
  • Assess the cost of your choices.
  • Determine accountabilities to achieve clarity of roles and mandates.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Clarity for next steps as far as individual employees are concerned.
  • A better idea of the fit of your selected structure, based on your current HR team.
  • A detailed cost analysis, which can be used to justify your project to the CEO or executive team.




Use Skills & Capabilities Assessment to capture current HR team & identify skills gaps/overages

  • Inventory of current HR team and their skills and capabilities

Use RACI chart to collectively assign responsibilities and accountabilities throughout the HR leadership team

  • Assigned responsibilities and accountabilities

Determine method of tracking success

  • Scorecard design or alternate tracking method

Search Code: 74272
Published: February 24, 2014
Last Revised: February 24, 2014