The Role of HR in Business Process Reengineering (BPR)

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Business Process Reengineering > Best Practices > The Role of HR in Business Process Reengineering (BPR)

The Role of HR in Business Process Reengineering (BPR)
Davor Markota, Management Consultant, Croatia, Member
We already know BPR is not about IT only. But I'd like to find out what can or should be the role of HRM (Human Resource Management) in effective BPR implementations?
Thanks for sharing your thoughts...

Importance of HRM to Pursue Effective Business Process Reengineering
Kenneth Salazar Saenz, Entrepreneur, Costa Rica, Member
HRM has a big role in BRP since it cannot be conceived as a department for payroll/administration only:
- HR holds together all vital activities in the organization such as Recruitment, Training, Organizational and Personal Development and therefore everything that has to do with Analysis and Description of Jobs to foresee a structured reengineering (or new positions) taking into consideration what inputs and resources (financial/non financial) the company counts on and this includes close collaboration and communication with IT.
- Also HR is involved in motivation, organizational climate, incentives, etc., to attract new fresh candidates and to transfer the current ones into new ways of working.
- HR must comprehend and propagate that people are the highest most valuable asset of an organization, so it is imperative that they get the best working environment and the best tools to perform in an optimal way.

Importance of HRM in BPR
hassan, Teacher, Nigeria, Member
I am not a HR expert, but for sure HRM is important in getting the best qualified personnel to get the reengineering process done. I agree the biggest asset any organization can have is its human capital and many organizations nowadays have changed HRM to HCM to reflect this.Thank you.

HRM in BPR as Strategic Department to Facilitate Management
rohmensen, Netherlands, Member
HRM is a fundamental part if you want BPR to be efficient.
- In BPR, you typically need to look across departmental and location borders. Getting HR onboard can help looking for solutions beyond these borders.
- A BPR effort normally has a large impact on the organization and people working in it. Getting HR onboard can help and facilitate management to achieve the necessary changes.

The Strategic Role of HRM
Steynebrugh, Consultant, Netherlands, Member
Nowadays, most elements of the marketing mix can be changed in the blink of an eye: price, suppliers, resellers etc. You can't establish a select group of employees at the same speed. HRM needs some time to find people, recruit them and train them.
So the role of HRM is to ask the board: "What kind of employees will be needed in (say) one year from now?" Thus HRM keeps the board sharp. That's a strategic task.

HRM Role in the BPR Process
Dejonckheere, Management Consultant, Netherlands, Member
BPR has a massive impact on the organization of work and the tasks of the employees. The changes have a severe impact, not only on the competences needed, but also on the personality traits of the people likely to flourish in the newly designed organization.
Social redesign based on a sound analysis of actual and future-desired personal profiles ads a lot to the results you are going to get.

Requirements for HR People in BPR
Josephat Olwal Ngesah, Kenya, Member
These are definitely good insights into the role of HRM in BPR initiatives.
Perhaps, I can add that for HRM to do this they need to always think strategically themselves and align their roles to the overall corporate strategy. It will not help if the HR officers are just transactional, opaque and avoid hard conversations.

Role of HRM in Business Process Re-Engineering
Ehab, Lecturer, Malaysia, Member
The human factor is considered an influential critical success factor for improvement projects, so any improvement disciplines should consider this point, additional to the role of management process which is representing the base of the ability to change.

HR Understanding of Business Process
Arshad Ali, HR Consultant, Member
In BPR, HR people should have a very good understanding of the old and new business process. The role of HR is changing; they are no longer in a facilitation role, they need to be part of board meetings and if they want to survive they have to understand the business process.

Champion Role for HR Managers in BPR
Horacio Cortese, Consultant, Argentina, Member
HR has to be the champion in the Business Process Reengineering, because in the last 20 years of this management practices the most important restrictions were the implementation of the new procesess and commitment of the management team. Always one sees restrictions of leadership and organizational behavior.
Only with an attitude and acceptance of the rol of "credible activist" HRM will be the real champion.

HR's Role in BPR
Ivan Kohlinsky, Management Consultant, United Kingdom, Member
HR definitely needs to be involved in any BPR project both at the START and DURING the development of re-engineering solutions.
Anyone carrying out BPR needs to know and fully understand the current job descriptions and their limitations, formal organisation structure & informal arrangements, as well as the practical aspects of any staff and/or management role changes and organisational structure changes created during BPR.
HR also has a role in liaising and explaining changes to staff and management, determining pay/terms changes and of course ensuring effective union communication and agreement.

Strategic Role of HRM in BPR
Joseph Cole, Business Consultant, Canada, Member
I agree with many of the comments listed about HR's traditional 'transactional' and 'training & development' role in a BPR effort. As a change agent - however - I see the greater opportunity for STRATEGIC HR - in the role of change enabler - to move past the 'process' part and towards 'creating employee value and commitment' through many linked efforts including training & development, renumeration, advancement, and recruiting.
This aids in sustaining the BPR efficiencies over the long-term.

HRM and BPR in the Business
Jerome, Manager, South Africa, Member
HRM is a vital link in any organisation. This however also depends very much on how the management view and engage with HRM. Many business view HRM as doing the contracts, IR, etc and forget to see the true value it can add to the business.
Humans should be the critical part of the business but production, finance and machinery have taken that place. The mindset of business needs realignment to take into account the value people have and the role HRM is playing in the success of the business. The long term sustainability of any business depends on its workforce.

Expanded View to BPM
Davor Markota, Management Consultant, Croatia, Member
Thanks to you all for your comments. It is clear for all of us that HRM is in the focus of the BPR and BPM.
Why then is there so much focus on IT and workflow management in the BPM topics while HRM is largely neglected, at least speaking regards standard websites?

HRM: Roles in BPR
Sainey Ceesay, Financial Consultant, Gambia, Member
Excellent pieces on HRM!
- From a Resource Based View (RBV) point of view, organizations can be able to enjoy sustained competitive advantage when they effectively manage their key internal resources. One key resource being human resources.
- In BPR, HR managers must be able to reorganise the internal human resources in a way to gain strategic alignment with the business objectives. Jobs must be reviewed and analyzed and redesigned or realigned to the new business processes. Equally HR managers should work with the business managers to cater for the inflow of new resources by way of recruitment selection and performance appraisals, once they are in.
- BPR is a (rapid) transformation process and requires a lot of training, development and performance monitoring and retraining etc. HR managers should take the lead in this.

Practical Value for HR to Accelerate Change
Lafayette Howell, Director, United States, Member
HR is essential to BPR or any other transformation or change initiative. Here are some factors to consider:
1. HR should work "inside a business unit or division". The purpose, just the same as IT as a functional support area to gain deep knowledge about the skills and competencies required to take things to the next level in terms of behavioral qualities and attributes for success. Most managers are not very good at framing what they need. Here HR can add tremendous value.
2. HR can help by evaluating trends specific to the industry they support. For example, if cloud and mobile skills are important, going to trade conferences to learn about best practices and lessons learned is vital.
3. Package the new jobs created coming out of BPR project with accurate descriptions of new skills and behaviors. In larger organizations, people with outdated skills are moved into new roles oftentimes and thus "upskilling" tends to not occur. This leaves executives scratching their heads.

The Role of HR in the BPR Process
Leslie Gaskins, Business Consultant, United States, Member
This is a good question that needs more attention by HR professionals.
Before answering the question, one needs to clarify the term BPR. When Hammer and Champy introduced concept in the early 1990s the focus was on an entire process. For example, the accounts payable process for paying vendors. The idea was to figure out how to get the AP department, the shipping department, the receiving department, and the vendor together to re-engineer how the entire process could be shortened by eliminating non-value added steps. In this example Hammer and Champy introduced an IT solution to shorten the cycle time. In the early 2000s, Hammer concluded that the focus on the entire process alone was not the total answer and that there had to also be a focus on the individual tasks performed by the employees. In above case the AP person, the shipping person, the receiving person, and the vendor in order for the entire process to be effectively re-engineered.

The key to any re-engineering project is to reduce cycle time for all the processes in the organization. If the employees performing the individual processes mentioned above are only 60% efficient and 75% effective then re-engineering the entire process misses the opportunity to truly reduce cycle time, and thereby missing the opportunity for improved quality and reduced costs.

So, where does that leave us? We need to begin by implementing a quality system that identifies non-value added steps in a process that can be eliminated and thus reduce cycle time. The quality system must also be able to provide the metrics for the efficiency (productivity) of each employee and the effectiveness (whether the process steps are the correct ones to reduce first pass yield). Since almost all employees do not interact directly with the paying customer, the quality system must help them identify their customers who are the employees in the department they handoff their work.

Once we have all tasks in the organization documented, employees can measure how well they are meeting their customerís requirement 100% and use continuous improvement to eliminate the problems that are identified as resulting in not meeting the 100% metric.

So where does HR enter the picture? I have been an HR professional since 1981. Prior to that I was in the productivity and quality consulting business. I have helped to drive an ISO9001 effort for a Fortune 500 disc drive company. I developed a quality system process that our ISO consultant found to be very effective and had metrics that are not even required by ISO standards. To implement BPR requires employees to change the way they perform the tasks they were hired to perform. As you know, no one likes change. BPR becomes a change management challenge. Who in the organization is most qualified to be the change agent to drive this process? The HR professional. But few, if any, have the knowledge or experience to develop and implement a quality system. However, if this person is able to drive the process or bring in a consultant to drive it, then the HR professionalís responsibility is to institutionalize the BPR effort establishing a 'structure' to support the change effort. By this I mean this individual must create the following (HR) processes:
  • Performance Management process
  • Performance Evaluation process
  • Induction process
  • Compensation process
  • Reward and recognition process
  • Team building process
  • Change management process
  • Culture establishing process
  • Training process
  • Other policies and procedures
These are the processes, the organizational structure that HR needs to develop and implement in order to institutionalize the BPR effort.

Role of HRM in BPR
Sudhir Kumar Pant, Consultant, India, Member
HRM plays an important role in organizational structuring, as well as in identifying competencies required for each position. Both of these 2 are directly linked to the BPR exercise.

Role of HRM in BPR
Basil Pollyn, Teacher, Nigeria, Member
It's obvious that the success or failure of any organization rests with its people. They are pointers to competitive advantage achievable by the firm in its industry. It follows therefore that BPR as an organizational modification activity involves first to reposition the human element. This will in turn lead the repositioning processes of the further resources of the firm. After all, organizational behaviour is comprised of the individual behavior of the people in the organization. So we can conclude that BPR is really about the engineering of the HR and other processes of the firm.

Role of HRM in BPR
Trustlord Marecha, South Africa, Member
BPR does not function elsewhere outside HRM. But HR personnel also need reengineering so they keep the organisation geared for sustainable change, align it with global challenges and more so to survive.
The challenge is who shall reengineer HR?
However, HR remains tasked to formulate and implement strategic processes in all departments for the organisation to achieve its mission.

The Role of HR Managers in BPR
James Onyango, Management Consultant, Rwanda, Member
Also throughout my management career spanning over 25 years, my experience is that BPR succeeds where HR Managers are not afraid to take the lead in its implementation.
BPR is a people issue due to overriding need help to position people with the right skills and competencies in key roles that drive the business forward. This cannot be done without competent HR managers.

Role of HRM in BPR
Mary Laniyan, Management Consultant, Nigeria, Member
In addition to all the valuable contributions on BPR, even small improvements (Kaizen) inevitably involve managing change. The human side of change management as we know can be tricky. HRM with its know-how and relations with the human resources can collaboratively work with the Change Manager in the BPR team to manage resistance and consolidate the change.

Role of HRM and BPR
Joseph Cole, Business Consultant, Canada, Member
@Leslie Gaskins: Leslie your comment about the HR 'profession' limitations is so true. I am a Change Agent with an education in HR which came AFTER years of work in continuous improvement / business excellence. I am often quite frustrated when people - executives and managers - fail to see the rest of the opportunity to build a sustainable BPR success story. I must emphasize that BPR is only 1 of many catalysts for 'change' within an enterprise.
BPR, like PM and IT ERP efforts tend to view 'change' like a calendar, with certain things happening within a certain time frame. Sustainable successful change, is more like the weather: like when you can get snow in July (like here in Canada) or when it is hot in the fall.

Role of HRM in BPR and BSC
Josephat Olwal Ngesah, Kenya, Member
This debate is becoming sweeter as more and more contributions come along. Indeed, the aim of BPR like most of us have said is to (quickly) improve our business processes. Why do we need to improve the processes? So that the overall performance of our organizations is improved. Isn't this the mission of every organization? Isn't this driven from the top? Yes, as much as HR need to think strategically, the drive, the support needs to start with the top. Many organizations are now implementing the Balanced Scorecard tool, which emphasizes the human factor. There is a blurred difference between BSC and BPR in terms of achieving high performing organizations.
In any case, a proactive HR can have a bottom-up influence over the decisions by visibility and positioning themselves in the organization as a strategic entity.

The Role of HRM in Effective BPR Implementations
Paul Martins, Management Consultant, Nigeria, Member
HRM has a very vital role to play towards ensuring successful BPR implementations by dispensing appropriate personnel to meet the specifications requested by the BPR Consultant or Manager for the Test Run of and proper execution of the painstakingly designed processes targeted at improving efficiency and profitability.
The HRM manager needs to stick as much possible to the specifications of the BPR handler of manpower requirements for the newly designed business processes.
The HRM role is complementary requiring due cognition of the BPR handlerís judgment and professional recommendations.
It is of utmost importance that the HRM designed evaluation and reevaluation tools for the deployed personnel are periodically affirmed on their suitability.

The Role of HR in BPR and other Improvement Efforts
Davor Markota, Management Consultant, Croatia, Member
A few weeks ago there was a conference about the Lean approach held in Zagreb, Croatia. It was stated that Lean can help creating significant reductions in costs and establish improvements in productivity.
Similar statements come from supporters of BPM, BPR, ISO 9001, 6 Sigma, etc.
I think that any kind of systematic improvement effort applied to an organization may eventually bring improvements, no matter the type of the applied framework.
But the central role is always: the human resources and its management - HRM!

The Role of HR in BPR Process
AJ Visser, Consultant, South Africa, Member
@Leslie Gaskins's response was probably the best to read. I just have one additional comment to make.
In all cases existing processes deliver the right product most of the time. The best way to handle the change for any process is to have a process owner that has the responsibility to take ownership of the process and with the team figure out a way to redistribute the work or find the root cause if you have a quality issue and fix it with the help of other functional managers if it is caused by crossing functional boundaries. The system performance/std is the managers responsibility. He then has to move forward to find a solution to reduce costs whilst maintaining the system performance and not jeopardizing the company performance.
HRM has two functions
1. Maintain operational HR processes and
2. at the same time work with the management to determine growth for functional skill requirements and where division of labour is required on an existing resource which is fulfilling multiple functions.

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