Custom «HR Service Delivery» Essay Paper Sample

HR Service Delivery

Every organisation requires a human resource department performing duties of payroll processing, career advice, employee benefits, as well as professional training and development (Bothma 2008). The services need to be delivered to many members of staff. The methods used to deliver such services are based on the human resource service delivery model (People Management Resources 2000). However, it has been frequently stated that the HR lacks the suitable tools to undertake the indicated tasks. There exist various models of service delivery within the human resource department that outline the approaches that ought to be taken in regard to the department’s undertakings (Mazur 2014). In general, there exist two categories of models, which include the traditional models and the Ulrich’s “three-legged stool” model. However, other models are also emerging and they are pursuing to provide a proper guideline for service delivery in the HR department (Conference Board of Canada 2011). For instance, there is a self-service model of service delivery, high-impact HR operating model and the next generation HR model. However, Ulrich’s model has been influenced mainly by the traditional models.

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Traditional Models

There are various models outlined under the traditional category. They represent the approaches that the HR departments in organisations have undertaken over time, prior to the development of Ulrich’s model. Some of the models include:

Federated Model

It has a centralised core team that focuses on the building and delivery of programs, which are common throughout the organisation. Often, they include development of skills, project management, leadership and hiring of new employees. The core team undertakes the duty of job selection and it implements the learning management system of business. It integrates the roles with the other principle roles of human resources department, including succession management, management of performance and planning of individual development. The model is effective when a business penetrates the foreign market. It offers the elements of both the centralised and decentralised models (Ardts, Van, & Maurer 2011). It has several advantages to the organisation. It eliminates redundant learning technologies within the business and ensures the consistency for data entry and reporting activities. It gains economies of scale through the purchase of third-party content, which is common across the business units. It also fosters development through the adherence to standard processes of learning and enhancement of unceasing improvement. However, it has some weaknesses, which include delaying of action as it requires a lengthy process to reach a consensus during the decision-making process. It also creates a limitation in the consistency, since some learning and development teams may opt not to participate in the chosen programs.

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Centralised Model

It provides a learning and development structure, which has a strong foundation for the learning activities of the entity. It is conducted through a core learning team, which reports to one learning executive: the Chief Learning Officer. However, the model works well when an organisation operates in a single country (Wright, McMahan, Snell, & Gerhart 2001). If it conducts multinational operations, the HR team may be overwhelmed by different labour laws in various countries of operations. It may also face some unfamiliar norms regarding to the compensation and benefits processes, as well as an unfamiliar labour market. It may be forced to take the trial and error approach in such situation or move to a decentralised system, which allows the delegation of the HR duties to teams at the local levels (Tessema, Soeters & Ngoma 2009). It has different advantages that include its capability for allocation and management of tasks conducted by the learning employees in order to ensure team’s optimal productivity. It can also enumerate the value of the tactical work streams, which may be targeted for subcontracting. It can be disadvantageous if the core learning team does not connect to the business. It is also not applicable in the multinational platform.

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Decentralised Model

Corporations attempt to give their leaders as much autonomy as possible so that they could realise the objectives of the business. When a business operates in different areas, its nature of work can be radically diverse. As a result, the skills and HR issues differ in such business units (Wright & Snell 2005). Consequently, such corporation may allow each of its training units to operate its independent HR department, which take few or no directives from the headquarters. It may also be applied when a company operates with various famous brands that are different from one another. As a result, the human resource requirements of such departments vary, which necessitates the use of decentralised model of human resource service delivery. The model is advantageous as it allows outsourcing of the training services from small enterprises that concentrate in offering such services (Wang, Shieh & Chen 2011). It also improves the flexibility of the performance challenges. However, due to the different approaches to training it may be difficult to move workforce around the company. It may also lead to conflicts due to the different methods taken by the organisation in the management of human resources. The structures of the business units may be unable to solve the organisational problems together. It also promotes fragmentation and duplication of efforts as it may be economically beneficial to focus on some of the tasks from a central level.

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Ulrich’s Model

The “three-legged stool” model is a dominant concept in the human resource function but it is difficult to identify its origin. Ulrich has made immense contribution towards the development of the model. However, he has not admitted to be its inventor, and he says that numerous companies used it prior to the time when he described it. However, it is evident that it is through his work that the notion of a segmented human resource function reached a wide audience (De & Roodt 2009). The “three legs” represent Shared Services, HR Business Partners and Capability Management. The Shared Services consist of activities that ought to be concentrated in a call-centre. It should have the support of an intranet in order to enable the provision of basic and administrative support functions to the rest of the entity. The Business Partners are the people who work closely with the managers of the different business units in relation to principle initiatives, as well as the management of change (Hunter, Saunders, Boroughs, & Constance 2006). The Centres of Expertise exist as sources of useful technical knowledge in relation to resourcing, employment relations and reward systems within the organisation. They can also undertake the development of policies aimed at supporting the business units, as well as other shared services.

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The model consists of either an outsourced or in-house human resource service centre, which conducts routine transactional human resource work (Sheehan, Nelson & Holland 2002). It focuses on the centres of excellence to provide specialist advice to all the business sections on various issues, including employee relations, management of talents and rewards (Albeanu, Hunter & Radford 2010). It also embeds the human resource teams into the business units through the provision of support to the leadership teams in regard to people’s issues. Ulrich made further suggestions that the human resource professionals should add value to their business through four key roles. They are the strategic partnership to conduct the organisational diagnosis and the administrative expertise to reengineer the processes of the business. They also perform transformation and the employee championship for the resource provision to the employees and agents of change for the management of change (Brown, Brice, & McGrath 2000). At the model’s apex, Ulrich indicates that there is a small corporate human resource team with responsibility to oversee the operations of the individual “legs,” as well as the entire business. It also provides the strategic direction for the entire business.

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However, the model has faced criticism from different people with some of them saying that it does not cover all the HR issues of an organisation. In such sense they have outlined a number of problems associated with the model. They have stated that the model is not driven by strategy as it focuses on cost reduction and service delivery problems, as opposed to the needs of the business. It has also been stated that organisations struggle during the transformation process due to the problems associated with the articulation of the manner in which the staff members should support the new HR function. It also lacks support from the line mangers as it undermines their role in the motivation and retaining of employees. It also has less focus on the geography of an entity especially in the modern business environment, which is highly influenced by globalisation. Therefore, it does not meet the specific needs of the business operating in different countries (Kiessling & Harvey 2014). There have been suggestions of the development of a new model called Next Generation HR. It will have all the key elements of Ulrich’s model, however, it will capitalise on the shortcomings of current model. Therefore, the model will not have the earlier stated disadvantages.

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Adoption of Ulrich’s Model by Organisations

The organisations can adopt the model in different ways according to their context and needs. Some of the organisations add some elements to the model so that to fit their specific requirements. For instance, the model used at the DHL supply chain borrows many elements from the Ulrich’s model. However, it has four elements, which are: shared service centre, HR Business Partners, Central Performance Development Team and Centres of Expertise. It also adds some new components within the shared service centre, which undertakes different tasks including employees’ relation, which has the responsibility for disciplinary, rewarding, taking grievances and dealing with long-term sickness issues. The model also requires a team that coaches the management of people.

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Key Concepts in the Understanding of HR Service Delivery

Human resource service delivery consists of the functions performed by the human resource department of an entity, and its responsibility is to ensure that the staff members work efficiently towards the realisation of the organisational goals (Werner 2014). The different models are aimed at transforming the department in order to maximise its contribution to the performance of the business (Werner 2014). Traditionally, the structure of HR services consists of one team of generalists, managers and experts (Ulrich 2007). Such team controls the line managers and the workers within specific business units and locations. However, as new departments have emerged, it has become necessary to ensure that each of them had some subdivisions, which will promote specialisation; hence, improved service delivery. The aim of the department is to ensure that the organisation has the right mix of employees through their skills and competencies. It also ensures that such skills are developed and the employees are satisfied (Steyn 2013). It also conducts the function of rewarding and punishing the employees.











The services can be provided by an in-house unit. It is a department that is located within the organisation and its members are also employees of the organisation. Alternatively, the services may be outsourced from different organisations that specialise in human resource management (Steyn 2013). It is common for some large organisations that concentrate on their businesses, while outsourcing the human resource management work to a different entity. In such way the outsourced entity employs its expertise in the field and with consultations from the strategic managers meets the HR needs of the company (Halim & Ha 2010). It is also vital to note that despite the role played by the HR department, the line managers are essential in determining the productivity of the employees. They are the connection between the personnel and the strategic managers who recognise and solve the issues faced by the employees.

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