After outsourcing, what?

Business Challenge

A global energy company was an innovator in HR outsourcing.  Driven by a need to reduce costs, streamline and integrate HR practices from multiple acquisitions, and operate HR more efficiently, the HR leadership team initiated a ground-breaking contract with an HR business services company.  In this contract, they outsourced 18 major HR practices, with many of their HR professionals transitioning over time to the outsourced company’s payroll.  In addition, the business services company would take the lead in providing systems-based solutions to HR work. 

While the implementation of this work was dramatic, it left ambiguous the role of the HR professionals who remained.  What should the retained HR force know and do to add the most value?


RBL principals were engaged to help shape the role and agenda for HR professionals in the post-outsourcing HR organization.

With the energy company’s input, we created a model of what strategic HR professionals must know, do, and deliver;  essentially, HR professionals were charged to turn strategy into sustained results through organizational capabilities.  This meant that HR professionals had to learn to understand strategy, diagnose the critical capabilities required to deliver strategy, then create 90 day action plans to make those capabilities happen.

To ensure the HR professionals had the knowledge and skills to perform these new roles, we created a development experience with multiple modules.  Some modules focused on understanding strategy, others focused on organization diagnosis and learning how to define critical capabilities, and others focused on mastering the art of making capabilities happen.  Hundreds of HR professionals attended these modules and were given the knowledge and skills to make strategy happen through capabilities.


HR professionals had to learn how to trust and deliver the administrative work through outsourcing partnerships.  Once these outsourcing partnerships were in place, it was imperative to help remaining in-house HR professionals define their roles.  This workshop gave people the knowledge, tools, and processes to deliver value.  As one of the best-managed companies in the world, this global energy company is able to make their strategies happen.  The HR professionals play a central role in these dialogues.