If I Could Do It All Again... (10: Riette le Roux)

If I could do it all again…I would clarify all players within this partnership’s roles, in much more detail, right from the start. 

In our environment you have a Corporate HR function, Business Unit HR and the HR Shared Services Centre which can cause interesting partner dilemmas if everyone is not on the same page in terms of the role that they are playing to support the end-customer.

The big-picture strategic decision to implement a SSC is taken at the top but the devil is really in the detail, which happens on the operational level of all parties involved. So if I could do it all again, I would take the time to really whittle down to the basics: who is responsible for what piece, where and when, right down to as many HR transactional scenarios as we can come up with (scenarios and activities that are not covered by "main-stream" transactional process flows and SLAs.)

As an HR Community we have been trying to remedy the situation. We looked at the employee lifecycle and how we touch the following stages during its course: Attract, Employ, Engage, Recognise/Reward, Grow/Develop and then Exit the employee. What role does the line manager play? What role does the business unit HR play? What role does PeopleServe [Standard Bank South Africa’s HR SSC] play? Who is accountable for what part, when?  If we’d done that upfront and we made sure that we crossed the Ts and dotted the Is, not only on a strategic, tactical and broad operational level, I think our lives would have been considerably easier.

During the establishment of the HR SSC, the various parties involved all had their own private hopes in terms of how things would turn out. Everyone agreed, in principle, with the big picture strategy and what we wanted to achieve. However as with all change management the devil was very much in the detail. The problems arose in how processes and procedures were practised in everyday life as well as how these were taught to new people joining the business.  Due to roles and responsibilities not clearly defined to this level of detail, right from the start and parties not appropriately and continuously upskilled, we ended up with all sorts of problems.

The beauty of hindsight is that you can philosophise about how things could have been done better.  Hopefully my hindsight can be your foresight… Happy hunting.

(If there's something you'd do differently if you could do it all again, why not let us know?  Email the editor with your thoughts - anonymity will be respected upon request!)