Providing assurance to a major HR Transformation | Practicus Background -fireworks
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Providing assurance to a major HR Transformation

The challenge

Our client understood the benefits of moving to the Ulrich model for HR –significantly reduced costs, improved services and higher levels of consistency across its 70+ countries. Though the model and implementation approach was designed by a Big 4 consultancy, our client wanted the practical application skills and assurance from an independent partner that the implementation would deliver the full extent of the business case.

As a specialist in HR transformation, Practicus was asked to act as a thought leader and practical delivery partner. The team needed to provide support, control and the assurance that the transformation would deliver its goals.

The engagement

The Practicus team worked as a thought partner to the client’s senior leadership team to validate the transformation strategy and make sure the operating model design was both implementable and fit-for-purpose. It then planned delivery of the programme primarily using internal capability, making Practicus the only external provider on the transformation.

Practicus is now responsible for managing delivery of the global transformation that touches all parts of the HR function:

  • People – the transformation is implementing a new organisation design, including role selection, group consultation and work council involvement. This will also involve training, development and engagement of the affected resources to help them understand the new roles
  • Technology – the programme is improving existing technologies and specifying requirements for new technologies to enable more efficient operation
  • Process – the transformation is identifying, mapping and improving HR processes alongside new technology implementation. It is also developing new policies that impact the efficiency and effectiveness of HR lifecycle processes

Practicus also set up appropriate PMO controls and rigour across the global transformation by adapting its standard materials and processes to the maturity of the organisation. For example, the team reduced the standard stage gate methodology, simplifying it to match the culture and capability of internal teams. It also set up governance (including the chairing of a steering committee), planning, reporting, risk management and control processes. The PMO applies the right amount of rigour and discipline to make sure everything is fit-for-purpose; providing the right amount of control needed to assure delivery whilst avoiding unnecessary bureaucracy.

Added Value

Beyond the HR transformation delivery, the Practicus team is working to transfer and develop internal project delivery capability. By coaching and guiding staff through project delivery processes, and identifying permanent resources that could take on future responsibility, Practicus is enabling the client to become self-sustaining even after its exit.


HR transformations require a high level of sensitivity. The sheer volume of work involved in moving to the new operating model meant that internal resources had only limited time available to implement change that would affect them. Using the core value of empathy, Practicus built rapport, helped them to prioritise their work and made sure they understood and were bought into the changes being made.

Practicus identified areas requiring improvement in the programme and was able to on-board new capability to resolve these challenges in a timely and cost effective manner. Ensuring the people baseline was tightly controlled and governed, and connecting that to the business case, was critical. The role of the PMO support was expanded to achieve this. For example, there was a capability gap in HR technology and Resourcing management, and Practicus was able to define and provide this service to the client that remained under the management of the overall programme.

The outcome

The transformation is in progress, with the implementation of the new target operating model already delivering $multimillion savings, with more savings targeted. Beyond the cost savings, the transformation is on track to substantively uplift service quality and raise the level of HR maturity. The client has benefited from Practicus leading this programme through the level of assurance applied and validation that the model would deliver the targeted goals.

The level of thought leadership and partnership between Practicus and our client has proven very effective. The practical delivery oriented approach, in relief to the style of the Big 4 consultancy, was attractive to other parts of the business, and our client has since adopted a similar model with Practicus on its Finance and Procurement transformations.