IBM Focuses HR On Change


It’s rare to find a corporate human resources function that accelerates change by actively finding ways to help drive new strategies. Most HR groups sit back and wait for requests from the business for administrative people transactions. In their role of stewards of policy compliance, they can tend to be a brake on change.

But not at IBM. Its HR function has been instrumental in the $100 billion company’s metamorphosis from a floundering computer manufacturer in the 1990s to a prosperous software and consulting services company today. HR has helped the organization absorb more than 125 acquisitions since 2000, and integrate globally, saving $6 billion since 2005.

When Randy MacDonald arrived at IBM in 2000 as senior vice president of HR, he felt the function was too focused on administration. “I have a fundamental belief that it’s important to decide what is core and non-core,” he told me recently. “Administrative responsibilities, such as getting paychecks out on time, are not core. Attracting, retaining, and motivating employees are all core. In HR, we need to focus on what is important and get out in front of issues—not just be reactive. HR should look at the direction of the company and say, ‘We need to be here right along with the business.’ ”

Over the last decade, HR at IBM took a number of steps to help drive operational improvement:  Read the full article originally posted on The Harvard Business Review for Bloomberg Businessweek here.

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Posted on January 10, 2012, in HR Management & Leadership. and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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