Changing HR operating models


As the world of work grows ever more complex, diverse and ambiguous, traditional models of working are starting to give way to more flexible forms of organisation and employment. Technology, globalisation, changing workforce demographics and skills shortages add to the challenges facing organisations. In this context the role of HR must evolve and grow to play a greater part in developing organisations for the future. As widely accepted norms for managing the employment relationship change, so the pressure will grow for HR professionals to develop a deeper understanding of the global context, business needs and strategy, and to innovate more to be not just efficient, but more effective.

At the CIPD, our goal is to support HR professionals and the organisations they work for on this journey. Our purpose is to champion better work and working lives. But to do that we need a shared understanding of what this means and what it might look like in the context of new and varied forms of employment relationship. We believe that there are basic principles that constitute good people management and development regardless of the context, and are continuing our research in this area. From there we can explore what this means for the HR function of the future and develop a set of principles that define good practice and professionalism.

In support of all of this, the way the HR function operates must continue to evolve. Some observers seem to want to dismiss the future of the function, breaking it up or separating out the strategic capabilities. Given the macro issues organisations are facing, I would argue that the role of HR will only grow in importance. But we have to step up, to evolve and adapt, to attract new talent to the function, and to invest more in building the capabilities we need to define a stronger future.

This collection of thought pieces brings together some of the most recent arguments in the debate. We've published them to surface some of the challenges and opportunities for the HR function, and to make sure that ongoing debates about our future are as comprehensive and well informed as possible. Over the coming months we'll be following all these debates very closely and gathering insights from successes and failures as organisations try out the different models. But at the same time, we'll be going back to first principles with some new research to define HR's role in championing better work and working lives.

Peter Cheese
CIPD chief executive


Changing HR operating models

This collection brings together a number of thought pieces by lead thinkers who have contributed to the CIPD report 'Changing HR operating models'. The full report is published by the CIPD.


What does the HR operating model of the future look like?

Jessica Cooper considers the latest thinking and practice in terms of HR operating models and a new report - 'Changing HR operating models' - which summarise the relevant issues, challenges and questions associated with the debate about how to structure HR.


CIPD viewpoint

CIPD reflects on evolving operating models for HR posing a series of questions for future consideration and thanking the various contributors whose thought pieces have added so much to the debate.