Reframing HR – changing the game – CIPD14


I was drawn to this session with Rita Trehan as it is about what I think needs to happen, HR needs to change it’s game. What Rita brings is a core idea that where HR can differentiate is around capacity and making more of it for organisations. By this she doesn’t don’t mean:

A) recruiting more people
B) waving a magic wand to create people
C) creating clones, cybermen or something similar (my words not Rita’s)


What she does talk about is how HR, by even closer aligning its work to the business strategy it can reframe its role from one where:

– no one cares about what HR does
– they desperately care about what we can do

How do we get there? Rita makes some interesting points:

Talent management – issues with talent management are just as prevalent today for CEO’s as they have been for the last two decades
HR current solution
9 box grid (or similar performance/potential grid
We’ve been doing that for years
It doesn’t work, so stop it – fair conclusion I think

Rita goes on to quote from the infamous ‘Who moved my cheese‘ book about doing the same thing over and over again…

So what do we do instead?

Rita suggests this as a way to decide what HR work you should be working on


Vision – what is it for your work and how does it fit with that of the organisation
Strategy – what is it for your work and how does it fit with that of the organisation
Solutions – how do the ones you are doing or the ones you are proposing to do link with both of the above
Leadership brand – how are all of the HR function hanging together to work on the right work (see above)

I also liked some points Rita was making about who we ask about our function. I particularly liked the idea of listening to investors or boards and reading the annual report and accounts for example to get a really detailed view of what matters and is important to the organisation.

There was also some stuff that I’d like to talk to Rita some more about. Namely:

The ‘HR having a seat at the table’ thing we have been harping on about for years. I have two areas to explore on this:
1) do HR people know what it is really like to be at that table? Do we really want to be there? Can we have as much influence there? What do we lose in terms of connection and influence being there?
2) links to the ‘who moved my cheese’ bit above, we’ve been talking about this for years, not made any progress, so should (or my preference, will) we now stop talking about it.

Is this really a reframe? Again, the concept of aligning, no really aligning HR to organisation vision and strategy has been around for ages. Is this not a new or different (and interesting) way of approaching those conversations and discussions.

Thanks for a thought provoking session Rita, although it wasn’t for everyone ;-))



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