Taking an Outside-In Approach

Business Challenge

One of the world’s leading consumer goods companies had recently restructured its HR organization. While internal customer satisfaction was generally positive regarding the HR leadership team’s performance, it was clear that silos were prevalent within the HR team that created challenges with prioritization, role clarity, customer “ownership”, and poor systems. 


The company brought in the RBL Group to facilitate a 2-day HR Strategy session to help the HR Leadership Team adopt an Outside-In approach. The goal of the workshop was to create strategic alignment for the team in order to ensure that HR priorities were executed effectively in the service of top business goals.

They started by asking the workshop participants two questions: Who is your customer, and what are the top priorities facing this group in the next 3-5 years? Initial responses focused largely on internal customers, systems, and programs and neglected to consider the impact of HR on creating value for external stakeholders.

To help the HRLT adopt an Outside-In approach, RBL changed the questions: What are the top priorities for your stakeholders in the next 3-5 years and what are the top 2-3 organizational capabilities required to deliver those expectations? By looking through the lens of external stakeholders, the HRLT was able to expand their focus and improve their communication with other parts of the company. 


Focusing on stakeholder priorities and organizational capability helped the HRLT eliminate siloed behavior and create a priority sheet that focused on items such as reducing time to enter new markets, improving operational productivity, and growing innovation capability. The Outside-In approach also helped HR generate more credibility as a strategic partner by not merely reflecting business strategy, but by helping inform and drive that strategy.