Skip to McMaster Navigation Skip to Site Navigation Skip to main content
McMaster logo

Human Resources Functional Organization Design

Deliverable: Develop a framework for determining where HR functions can most effectively be led and managed. Using process maps and measures, this framework will reflect where the greatest value is created. Value is determined using both quantitative and qualitative metrics which reflect the University’s mission, vision, and values.  Clarification of distributed HR functions (decentralized) and pursuant processes, roles and structures need to be developed and approved.

Venn Diagram

Implement a new Governance Structure for HR 

What did we do? 

Innovation and creativity are critical to McMaster’s success. Faculties and departments must be able to deliver strategies supporting the University’s goals and prioritiesAdministrative support units must operate in a structure that delivers coordinated services, administrative effectiveness, and operational excellence. At the same time, services must be delivered efficiently as we look to ensure value for money for HR support. Recognizing the need for coordinated decentralization, the same concepts applied to create the IT governance model were used to create the HR Governance Model. 

Outcome – Coordination and Alignment of HR Projects, Priorities and Structures 

In spring 2022, the President and Vice-President (PVP) group approved a new internal HR Governance structure, intended to enable stronger integration, planning and coordination of HR service delivery. HR Governance fosters partnerships between University and Human Resources in support of McMaster’s vision, institutional priorities, and strategic framework 

This new framework has been key to decision making, alignment and information sharing. It supports the University’s mission by building shared understanding on specific and broader community HR issues and enables an integrated approach to collaboration on and align HR strategy and operations with University’s overall objectives.  

The HR Governance includes the President and Vice-President (PVP) group as the HR Executive; the HR Working Group including administrative leaders from across the University; and the soon to be established HR Innovators Council is expected to enable employee voices.   Together the groups help set strategic direction, monitor progress and outcomes, and provide critical input into HR priorities, programs, and processes. 

HR Operating Model 

What did we do? 

The HR Review recommended changes regarding the organization design and delivery of HR services in payroll, benefits and HR advisory services. It also highlighted the need to build expert teams, and the importance of ensuring leaders in Faculties and departments have access to expert HR support. In a highly decentralized environment, it is critical that the HR operating model for McMaster University is well-integrated and coordinated to achieve process efficiency and enable an exceptional employee experience.  

Understanding these opportunities, a new Operating Model for HR was approved by PVP in Fall 2020 and has been used to redesign how HR services are delivered at McMaster. The new Operating Model recognized the need for coordinated service delivery to different community groups, from employees to managers, and senior leadership. Efficiency can be achieved in a coordinated model which permits streamlined processes and hand-offs between levels of supports. Better coordination enables HR to leverage technologies, simplify processes and deliver consistent and collaborative support. 

HR Operating Model – Approved November 2020 

Outcome – Decentralized Coordination, Operational Excellence; Process and Administrative Efficiency; OneHR   

  1. HR Self-Service enables employees and managers to review/update personal information, complete core transactions and search for general HR information. 
  2. HR Operations provides employees and managers with consistent general HR support and answering operational HR inquiries or escalated matters requiring attention. 
  3. Embedded HR Partners through the significant expansion of the HR partnership model/hub teams to support senior leaders and administrators in faculties/departments to provide customized HR strategic advice and support, and internal enhancements to HR processes and operational matters. Faculties are leveraging administrative hubs to restructure or realign work to embedded HR roles, achieving efficiencies, reducing errors, and helping to deliver faculty and department people strategies.  
  4. Re-alignment of HR Centres of Expertise (CoE) supporting Health, Safety, Wellbeing and Employee Relations; Compensation, Pension and Benefits (Total Rewards); and Talent Equity and Development to provide oversight over policies, collective agreements, and act as the key driver of HR organizational level programing such as leadership development, talent and equity strategies, and employee health, safety, and wellness.  

It is important that new HR roles are aligned with the approved HR operating model, so that the University can leverage efficiencies and service improvements expected from a coordinated and collaborative approach.  

Since 2020, in partnership with administrative leaders from across the University, almost every HR role has been redefined as we work to ensure partnership, information sharing and integration of services.  

Embedded HR Strategic Partners and/or other support roles (i.e. HR Coordinators, EDI Specialists, etc.), with dual reporting to HRS or to FHS HR now exist in each faculty and in multiple departments. These roles have been well accepted by the University community, with approximately now 20 embedded HR Strategic Partner roles and an additional 30 HR embedded support roles in place. These roles are funded by respective Faculties or departments, with many areas reporting overall administrative savings and efficiencies as work is realigned. Leaders report significant improvements in HR transactional and operational efficiency, including transactions related to temp/casual hiring, onboarding activities, strategic talent and development planning, inclusive excellence, and employee engagement as a result of this new service model. Work is underway to track efficiencies achieved through the new embedded service model and is currently being piloted in the Faculty of Science. 

Integrated “OneHR” Operating Model: Current State 2023