Uber. Airbnb. TripAdvisor. Amazon. And, well, even that Trap remix of the #DamnDaniel phenomenon. Democratization isn’t just a buzzword anymore; it’s yesterday’s news. So much so that, when we talk about disruptive innovation, we shouldn’t restrain it to just the next Silicon Valley unicorn. Every company, no matter how big or small, old or young, should be rethinking its business model, especially beginning with its HR department. This is the talent hive, whether it’s attracting new hires, training or retraining existing employees, or assisting administrative and executive functions. It’s also, of course, the compliance control center.

At the most recent HR Technology Conference & Exposition this past fall, angel investor Barry Libert asked, “What if the future of HR was about . . . letting people achieve more of what they want?” (HREOnline). He cited Uber and other platform companies as a template that must be somehow transposed to HR Tech. He likened his vision of the future of HR as an orchestra (HREOnline), where employees, customers, and business partners collaborate in the same manner, each group sometimes taking the lead, but always returning to a grander unison.

So in that same spirit, here are two different takes on re-envisioning the HR model as it exists today.


Recently, Accenture, a business solutions provider, published a white paper offering radical alternatives to the traditional HR model as a Center of Excellence. According to the report, “a key feature of these models is an emphasis on digital—cloud-based delivery, technologies that facilitate collaboration, analytics capabilities to deliver timely insights, and more.” Here are the six separate models:

Just-In-Time HR Model

  • “replaces Centers of Excellence (COEs) and business partners with a small cross-functional work-force effectiveness group

Professional Services Model

  • “COE and business partner roles replaced with an internal HR consulting group that creates talent practices and advises various parts of the business”

Talent Segmented Model

  • ”Just as companies that compete on customer centricity often organize around customer segments, organizations that compete on employee centricity can organize HR resources around talent segments”

Crowdsourced Model

Lean HR Model

  • “HR is divided into three parts: shared services; a tiny corporate function with deep specialists (risk and compliance in HR; treasury and tax in finance); and a small number of both centralized and localized planning and analysis experts”

Federated/Decentralized Model

  • “For businesses with fairly autonomous business units and that must rapidly respond to the needs of local units, this model decentralizes business partners and COEs into the business units”


Another business solutions company, Deloitte offers its High-Impact HR Operating Model, which is less revolutionary than Accenture, and more concerned with adapting existing models. Deloitte defines three core principles behind their methodology:

  1. “It is about the business. Business imperatives and insights about the workforce have to guide how HR operates, not the other way around.”
  2. “Nimble is key. When HR demonstrates agility, flexibility, and coordination, it unlocks high business performance throughout the organization.”
  3. “Beyond the organization. Industry and social networks, organization’s customers, and the external market must be integrated within how HR operates.”

So where does your company fit in?

The name of the game is fluidity—whether it’s a matter of who or how HR functions are being handled. But what one also has to keep their idea of implementation fluid. Just because your company decides to overhaul its HR model doesn’t mean that the initial blueprint is flawless, or that the particular modifications you’ve chosen are best for your company.

With HR Tech as one of our three core innovation efforts, tekMountain continues to provide southeastern NC and beyond with insights into customizable HR solutions for businesses of all sizes and industry. Contact us today to learn how your HR model can be upgraded to the 21st century.


This blog was produced by the tekMountain Team of Sean AhlumAmanda SipesBill DiNome, and with lead writer Zach Cioffi

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