Supporting paper by Tomasz Miłosz, Hungary, on decentralisation of human resource management and empowering managers (case study), presented at the SIGMA webinar on "Are human resource management practices resilient and agile enough to address the next COVID-like crisis?", held on 15 December 2020.
This goal could not have been reached without technology. The introduction of the team leader role was
supported by a new and modern HR system. The introduction of this system was also an opportunity to
introduce simplified, revised business and HR processes for people management, such as recruitment,
development, performance management, compensation and departure. One integrated HR system
provided access to precise, people-related data to inform the decision-making process. One system was
intended to replace several hundred separate systems in order to simplify the IT landscape for HR and
make it less expensive. The company decided globally to implement the cloud-based human capital
management software Workday, using not only the HR management core module, but also those for
benefits, talent management, recruitment and time tracking.
The introduction of the team leader role and the use of the new technology, based on simplified business
processes, was planned to start the process of changing the human resources function in the business
from an operational role to a more concrete, business partner role and function. It was intended to create
development opportunities for human resources staff, allowing them to focus on business partnering
activities such as business advice, strategic recruitment or development rather than basic administrative
How: How were the solutions developed?
The project was a global initiative; however, each country was responsible for local implementation and
project execution. A few important areas helped to successfully deliver the project on time:
● Governance - each firm had to appoint a project leader to lead a team of specialists responsible
for key areas of the project. A cross-functional steering committee was appointed to create a
forum to share goals and seek consultation and advice.
● Change management - this was one of the leading work streams, focusing on adapting the new
processes to the daily routine. This team was also responsible for creating the transformation
process to implement it successfully in the firm.
● Communication - the project was executed in a very inclusive and transparent way with the entire
firm. Information about future changes was delivered well in advance and was staged due to the
● Early adopters – this played a critical role in the implementation. Early adopters were selected
from functions other than HR and their role was to promote the project and exchange information
using non-official channels.
● Training - two kinds of training were organised. The first was leadership training to develop
competencies that were critical for success as a team leader. All newly appointed team leaders
were enrolled in the training. The majority of them joined in person, however combined learning
was also available for those who were not able to join or for those who wanted to refresh their
knowledge. The second was an introduction to the new technology and how to handle the most
critical business transactions in the system.
To ensure that the transformation happened as planned, monitoring of system usage was implemented.
Based on the data from the new HR system, support was offered to those who experienced challenges in
using the new technology.
Feedback from employees was collected on a regular basis, particularly after important HR processes, such
as objective setting, feedback or development discussions.
The transition process was carefully planned in relation to the systems used. The process allowed the use
of both the old and new systems during a defined transition period, after which the old system was closed
to encourage managers and employees to fully adopt the new system and, for those concerned, adapt to
the team leader role.
What results: what were the benefits of the solution, how does it work in practice, lessons learnt
During the project, approximately 10% of staff were identified as team leaders. The skills and
competencies of the group were significantly improved, particularly in relation to social and soft skills. The
new team leaders were much closer to the employees as they managed an average group of ten people.
This meant that they knew all members of their team well and could take appropriate actions.
The newly appointed team leaders were also trained in system functionality, so they could use the system
from the day of introduction. The feedback given during the training also helped to fine-tune the final
versions of the processes and the system.
The most important lesson learnt, however, was that the implementation of the team leader role was
clearly not a technological project, but a human transformation. The change management agenda played
the most critical part in the success of the project. This focused on step-by-step introduction of the new
role and the system. The system was quite stable from the beginning – it was much more time consuming
to train the newly appointed team leaders in order for them to be able to truly lead the groups of staff. It
took a relatively short period of time for younger team leaders and those with previous experience, while
those who were less experienced had to make more effort to be successful.