Co-creating HR: is this the future?

The last radical shift in the HR world was the Ulrich model – 18 years ago.

How should HR teams work in 2017?

Kellie O’Sullivan, GM People and Performance at Ministry of Justice presented at the APPNZ HR Strategy workshop in March.

Kellie first took everyone attending on a tour through where HR has come from.

What she sees is that in 2017 many HR teams are still set up around the Ulrich model. The problem with this is that we speak too ‘HR’ and the business doesn’t get what we’re saying. People can now get the information that HR has previously owned (e.g. leadership) through articles, videos and meeting people through LinkedIn – so HR are not experts anymore at this topics. There has been no link in what HR rolls out and what results it will actually achieve.

Kellie recently went to a US conference on the 4th industrial revolution. There were several trends covered which will impact on HR:

  • AI (artificial intelligence) will change how we use data. HR hasn’t been good with data so AI could be an opportunity to improve in this area. Kellie was booking a meeting with someone in the US and found that their EA was actually AI (Amy Ingram). Then she understood why it hadn’t understood about her delay in getting back after the November earthquake!
  • Co-creation: people are individuals and want to be part of creating their workplaces, not having HR own that space. At Lululemon they spend a week talking values and plan what each employee will do in 10 years, 5 years and 2 years and put it on the wall!
  • Copying is now okay: The new Instagram product was quite clear that they had copied Snapchat. People aren’t pretending anymore that they haven’t copied ideas.

Kellie’s personal view is that HR has to get the basics right and focus on the customer. You have to find the emotional hook that engages you with your business. You have to connect on a personal level – emotional wins over rational. Tell a story. And that you need to look at your HR being co-created by your business.

She also shared a couple of tips about getting your senior leaders on board that will stay in the room. But perhaps she’ll share those again at another workshop!


This is a thought provoker article written by APPNZ following on from each of our professional development workshops. Thank you to Kellie for a great presentation. For more about the HR workshops APPNZ run click here. For more about our Payroll workshops click here and our Learning workshops click here.


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