Research Insights

Accelerating the journey to HR 3.0

Ten ways to transform in a time of upheaval
IBM Institute for Business Value
Amy Wright | Diane Gherson | Josh Bersin | Janet Mertens
HR reinvention:

The time has come The Human Resources (HR) profession plays a heroic role in business. As companies deal with issues such as public health, resilience, social unrest, and rapid business transformation, the HR department has become more important than ever.

Historically, HR departments have largely been administrative. They take responsibility for hiring, pay, compliance, and basic job design. Today, however, as we recover from the pandemic, companies need HR to focus on the employee experience and drive reskilling, cultural transformation, and an evolution to new models of work. As our research clearly shows, companies that make this evolution far outperform their peers–especially in this time of business reinvention.

Over the last two years we studied hundreds of global companies, and we found the HR departments fall into three categories. Traditional HR 1.0 departments focus on compliance, administration, and highly efficient service delivery. HR 2.0 teams move toward integrated centers of excellence, and focus on training and empowering business partners to deliver solutions at the point of need. HR 3.0, which only 10 percent of companies have achieved, turns HR into an agile consulting organization, one that not only delivers efficient services, but also practices design thinking to push innovative solutions, cognitive tools, and transparency into the organization.

The exciting thing about our findings is that HR 3.0 is not an idea: it’s a reality you can achieve. As you will read in our report, the disciplines of design thinking, the use of highly intelligent cognitive tools, and a focus on transparency, inclusion, and change are all goals you can achieve. And supporting these new disciplines, we identified the need to continuously train and upskill HR itself.

As we recover from the global pandemic, every organization is rethinking work, the way we support our people, the role of technology, and the new role of leadership. HR 3.0 is a goal that every company can achieve, and we are excited to help you get there.

Josh Bersin
Global Industry Analyst
Dean, Josh Bersin Academy
Key Takeaways

Humanity at the heart of the Cognitive Enterprise

As exponential technologies, new business models and global disruptions converge to help transform the enterprise, it has become more important than ever to elevate the work and skills of employees and teams.

HR 3.0 is a business imperative

Business executives overwhelmingly agree that HR must be radically redefined. Guiding principles of personalization, skills at the core, data-driven decision-making, transparency and agility are at the core of the journey to HR 3.0.

The best companies are already taking bold steps

Ten action areas in HR emerge as priorities for transformation. Leading companies are outpacing their peers by innovating in all of these areas.

About the Authors

Amy Wright Managing Partner, IBM Talent & Transformation

Amy Wright is the Managing Partner of the IBM Talent and Transformation business. Amy brings innovative talent software and services to IBM clients, helping them transform talent across the enterprise and reinvent HR.

Diane Gherson, Senior Vice President, IBM

In her role as CHRO of IBM from 2013-2020, Diane redesigned all aspects of the company’s people agenda and management systems to shape a culture of continuous learning, innovation and agility. She digitally transformed IBM HR, incorporating AI, automation and design thinking across all offerings to create consumer grade experiences for employees.

Josh Bersin, Global Industry Analyst, Dean of Josh Bersin Academy

Josh Bersin is a global industry analyst and has been studying best practices in HR, HR technology, and all aspects of talent management for more than 20 years.

Janet Mertens, Global HR Research Lead, IBM Institute for Business Value

Janet Mertens is the Global HR Research Leader in the IBM Institute for Business Value. Janet leads the development of thought leadership on a variety of topics related to talent for today’s senior HR executives.

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Publish Date

October 2020