The HR function

IES has a long-standing programme of work for employers on the design, performance and transformation of the HR function.

HR transformation has often demanded a more efficient and effective function; on occasion at the expense of delivering good customer service. Cost pressures and responding to technological change mean achieving great outcomes and building internal capability is a perennial battle. Less true perhaps for HR business partners, but here the performance challenge is to be a strategic contributor.

We can help you address these issues through design (creating new ways of working), development (improving what you have got) or review (checking out how you are performing).

The main themes of our work cover:

  • structural change, adopting 'Ulrich' or not;
  • successful service delivery, especially interconnections between roles;
  • the purpose of HR and how this relates to the business, especially at a strategic level;
  • measuring the performance of HR, particularly taking a customer view; and
  • developing HR capability.

Contact: Stephen Bevan

Our work in this area

HR audit

Our research on HR metrics and on HR’s performance, highlights challenges for the HR function:

  • Are you clear about purpose and aligned with your organisation’s goals?
  • Are you organised in the best way to deliver your aims and quality services to customers?
  • Are your processes fit for purpose and your people skilled and experienced to achieve goals?
  • Do you look outside HR to learn from others?
  • Do you regard performance in terms of cost effectiveness and higher value added?

Auditing the HR function

HR capability development

Great HR people are critical to a vibrant and respected function. We offer warm, supportive and challenging insights that help HR colleagues become more effective, including:

We also facilitate your internal development activities, through challenge to ideas and proposals, using data to highlight problems whilst building deep expertise in technical areas.

These sessions develop your HR people's knowledge and skills base. Please contact Emma Stewart-Rigby to discuss how your organisation can best take advantage of these sessions.

CPD for HR Professionals

HR structural change

'To Ulrich or not to Ulrich' is the commonest HR structural issue in complex organisations. We have researched the adoption of the model, why organisations choose it and the advantages and challenges it brings. We help you balance the promise of economies of scale, the development of expertise in key content areas and the alignment with the business, with the potential downside of fragmentation from a customer and functional perspective.

HR metrics

Evaluating the impact of investments in human resources tends to be complicated and often confusing. We make it simple; we can apply complex statistical tests where the data merit it and interpretive, pragmatic approaches elsewhere.

We help develop HR’s evaluative capability and advise on what forms of evaluation are possible and what data are needed to answer the questions you have or have been asked of you.

IES experts

Peter Reilly Stephen Bevan

Peter Reilly
Principal Associate

Stephen Bevan
Director, Employer Research and Consultancy

Related projects

Review of the Human Resources Function within NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Getting the most out of human resource management: How can HR practices lead to better employee performance and wellbeing?
University of Brighton

HR Review
London Borough of Harrow

HR Shared Services
NHS Scotland

HR facilitation
Wigan Council

HR review at a Further Education college