A kinder, gentler process improvement approach

Topics: Administration and Finance, Human Resources, Strategic Planning


Steve Rowe

Steve Rowe, Senior Analyst

Successful HR process redesign begins with correctly isolating and mapping the most problematic department processes in order to target improvement efforts.

But this is only the first step—HR leaders must then streamline these processes to improve HR department efficiency and provide the staff capacity needed for higher-level work.

Unwieldy process redesign maps leave next steps unclear

Unfortunately, improvement efforts often stall because confusing process maps provide little intuitive guidance about what to fix or where specifically to focus—given the many handoffs, steps, decision points, and units involved, staff often struggle to pinpoint the most prevalent processing inefficiencies. This confusion is especially acute for the more complex processes most in need of redesign.


With enough time, HR staff could sort through any map. However, HR staff already inundated with daily work responsibilities need a simpler way to analyze these processes.


Focus staff on four primary sources of process inefficiency

To ensure successful process redesign, HR leaders must provide HR staff with prescriptive guidance to quickly identify and fix common inefficiencies. Fortunately, the vast majority of process inefficiencies stem from a common set of issues. In particular, HR process bottlenecks are often a result of one of four primary problems:

  • Too many process steps
  • Only one step processed at a time
  • Too many cross-unit handoffs
  • HR performs work better suited to external units

Rather than starting from scratch with each process redesign, HR leaders should scan each process specifically for these issues.

Learn More

Our Process Redesign Playbook offers detailed examples and guidance for addressing each of these problem areas while providing staff with an action plan to interpret complex process maps and tackle the most probable sources of department inefficiency.

Access the resource