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HR Management and Organizational Layers

The organization is not monolithic. It has several layers. The HR Management has to respect different layers of the organization and the topics, questions and issues solved at each level. The complexity of issues differs dramatically and HR has to be able to serve all organizational levels. The HR Management has to operate in a matrix organization. The different layers of the organization formulate different parts of the business strategy. The HR Strategy and the HR Management has to be aligned with the strategic formulations at different layers. It has to be compatible with the internal clients.

The role of HR is in being the business partner to every manager and employee in the organization. They have different requirements and they request different level of a detail. HR has to understand their internal clients and it has to prepare the right level of details for them.

The general organizational layers are:

  • Corporate Management Layer
  • Business Unit Layer
  • Functional Unit Layer

The corporate management layer is about the top management of the organization. It consists of top managers with the access to the confidential information. They create broad strategies and they are responsible for the overall business results of the company. The managers at the corporate level are focused on the entire market and the entire organization. They do not distinguish between different units and they require general solutions for all.

The corporate layer of the organization is the main customer of the strategic HR Management (mainly the strategic one). The corporate layer sets the direction for the entire organization and sets company wide policies. This layer sets policies and procedures for the smooth cooperation in the organization. It sets targets for the company wide processes.

The HR Management for the corporate layer is about the strategic initiatives and trends affecting the entire organization. The HR Managers have to be ready to discuss organization wide topics and find connections with the business strategy and objectives.

The business unit layer is about the tactical solutions derived from the overall HR and business strategies. The top managers in the business unit ask for the tailor made solutions. They want to adapt the general strategy as they can stimulate the competitiveness and the growth of their unit. They need a support as they can increase the internal competition among different departments and units.

The HR Management at the business unit layer has to be flexible. The policies and processes have to be adapted to provide the best results for the managers. On the other hand, the key principles have to be applied. It is about the fairness and transparency across the entire organization.

The functional level managers are focused on the operational issues. They do not tend to discuss strategic issues. They have no benefits from them. They have hard targets and they need to deliver. The HR Management has to prepare the operational plan with them. HR has to strictly follow the defined plan. The managers raise many issues and they can escalate them, if HR does not deliver.

The HR Strategy has to be cut into small pieces at the functional unit layer. It has to bring immediate benefits to managers. They will support the strategy implementation just in case of the visible improvements for them. They read many empty strategic messages, they are bored by reading the word strategy again and again. They need the support and results. The HR Management has to be prepared for the pushback from their side.