Creating a Strategic HR Organization

Business Challenge

The merger of two defense manufacturers created a more completely integrated systems business for the defense industry. In addition to the strategic and operational synergies that would occur through the merger, executives believed that they could also achieve extensive cost savings by creating shared services and eliminating redundant elements from the combined organizations. 

As they began work, it quickly became clear that achieving their goals and developing the strategic, value-adding capabilities of HR population would also require investment in development to shift HR professionals from highly effective practitioners to strategic professionals.


The RBL Group was selected to design and deliver a developmental program for the organization’s HR professionals.  The custom-designed six-month program focused on 63 senior HR professionals and used the following design features:

  • 360 assessment of top senior HR professionals, including interviews and individual feedback sessions
  • Tailored pre-program exercises for HR participants to assess their current business strategy and environment
  • Three classroom-based, highly customized learning modules at regular intervals that focused on linking the business strategy with HR strategy and processes, driving organizational capabilities, and defining HR in the leadership role
  • Two team-based projects focused on applying knowledge and skills learned during the learning modules to real-world problems


  • 120% increase in the influence of their HR professionals on business decisions and strategy
  • 85% increase in providing innovative business solutions as well as substantive increases in understanding key performance indicators, providing good general HR advice and support and understanding the business and its needs
  • Inspired ability and desire to discipline themselves to think, speak, and act more strategically
  • Ability to more substantively contribute to their management teams
  • Codified tacit knowledge about the role of HR into an explicit framework which made their knowledge valid, defensible, and useable
  • Success of program in developing strategic HR capabilities led to cascading program content to target mid-level professionals and recent graduates