HR from the Outside In

Why did I chose this resource?

I chose this resource because I am making important modifications to the way we recruit new talent. Good team members drive our company. Without them, we would not be able to grow beyond our own personal limitations.  

HR from the outside in

What did you learn from it?

I learned that HR is more than recruiting and hiring.  HR should be viewed as a vital business component that helps identify, and staff for, future and emerging business trends in an organization’s environment, that innovation and change are inherent in leading HR groups, and that IT has an important role to play in improving HR functions but is underutilized.

Key Knowledge

  • HR professionals must be focused on the goals of the business beyond just the HR department
  • Thinking about the business of the business is what is meant by thinking from the outside (goals of the business) in (HR department).
  • HR must create and deliver value in real business terms
    • understand the context in which business functions
    • understand the stakeholders who shape and sustain the business
    • understand the business strategy to uniquely position the business to serve stakeholders, respond to general conditions and build competitive advantage.
  • HR departments must create specific and substantial value for customers and shareholders
    • must be an informed observer and interpreter of the external trends and conditions that are likely to impact business success
  • Develop
  • How define progress?
    • Individual level – improvement of the overall effectiveness of HR professionals
    • Business level – extent to which HR competencies and activities are applied to enhance business impact
  • 6 Domains of HR Competency
    • Credible Activist
      • Credibility comes when HR professionals focus their time and attention on the issues that matter to the
        business, do what they promise, meet their obligations and commitments, communicate effectively and build relationships of trust with line managers and other colleagues, and demonstrate a willingness to take professional and personal risks to create value for the business.
    • Strategic Positioner
      • creating the future as you recognize, anticipate, and take advantage of emerging trends
      • must be financially literate and utilize company financial data and reports
    • Capability Builder
      • the organization is a set of capabilities rather than as process, structures or systems
        • perform organization audits in the following steps
    • Change Champion
      • organizations must change at least as fast as the pace of change in its environment or it will fail
    • Human Resource Integrator and Innovator
      • ensuring that the organization has the right talent and leadership for the current and future success of the business
        • Developing talent – turn future customer expectations into present employee requirements
    • Technology Proponent
      • HR has historically the slowest of departments to adopt IT
      • Effective use of IT in HR can improve efficiency and promote well-being in employees
  • Developing yourself as an HR professional
    • Step 1: Own your career
    • Step 2: Learn about yourself
    • Step 3: Define your brand
    • Step 4: Assess your strengths and weaknesses
    • Step 5: Create opportunities for growth – from the outside in
    • Step 6: Conduct projects and experiments
  • Four priorities for building an effective HR Department
    • Create an HR business plan
    • Finalize your HR department organization
    • Provide good HR analytics
    • Do HR for HR – be a role model

How are you using what you learned?

I am taking a comprehensive view of HR not as just a cost center, but as a strategic partner to enhance our business goals. As we build out the BBB dashboard, we’ll be able to utilize metrics to connect employee work to over business performance (financial reporting).

Key Changes

  • We need to do a better job of listening to the what the customer wants, and anticipate what they will need
  • We can use that information, along with our own strategic priorities, to identify where we need to increase capacity / knowledge
  • Develop metrics that connect employees to business performance

Key Actions

  • Create component of BBB dashboard that connects performance with HR / employee activities
  • Incorporate HR into strategic planning (as an important and interconnected component of all pieces)


  • Name : HR from the Outside In
  • Author : Dave Ulrich, Jon Younger, Wayne Brockbank and Mike Ulrich
  • Link to Summary

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