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Repurposing HR: From a Cost Center to a Business Accelerator

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HR managers have been trained to think of themselves as cost centers, challenged at every budget cycle to cut, pare, and shrink expenses. Their staff brandish benchmarks and statistics to say how engagement affects business success, how the ratio of HR staff to employees is low, and how our turnover is too high. But with all these data, executives still roll their eyes and ask, “But what impact do you have on our bottom line?"

Why does HR think like a cost center? One reason is because HR does not have its act together. It thinks in organizational silos, as professionals in compensation, recruiting, employee relations, and learning and development, rather than as business people whose purpose is to improve the bottom line of our organizations.

This book is about a major paradigm shift for the HR profession. By breaking down organizational silos and using a process to generate and foster collective thinking, HR can shift the paradigm from developing programs, policies, and processes to improving the performance and productivity of the workforce.

Repurposing HR presents a RoadMap for a new way to look at human resources in terms of the multiple roles that HR plays on the business scene. It will walk through each "StopOver" on the journey, including the

* purpose, objectives, knowledge, and skills required

* work products

* tools and resources that are useful to the practitioner

This is a compelling process for using the skills, competencies, and attributes of the HR team in a systematic and holistic way.


Chapter 1. Why HR Needs to Become a Business Accelerator

Chapter 2. A Modern HR Fable: Introducing Karen

Chapter 3. The Indictment of HR

Chapter 4. From the Customer Perspective

Chapter 5. Thinking Collectively

Chapter 6. How Can We Do Things Differently?

Chapter 7. StopOver Strategy

Chapter 8. StopOver Analysis

Chapter 9. StopOver Risk Management

Chapter 10. Introducing the RoadMap to the Team

Chapter 11. StopOver Sales and Marketing

Chapter 12. StopOver Resource Steward

Chapter 13. StopOver Advocate

Chapter 14. StopOver Investor

Chapter 15. StopOver Trusted Advisor

Chapter 16. Karen Puts the RoadMap to Use

Chapter 17. Applying the RoadMap to the Small HR Team

Chapter 18. Final Thoughts

Appendix A: The Commitment Curve

Appendix B: The Change Curve


“Carol Anderson provides an insightful and thought-provoking road map to guide HR and other business leaders in the practice of full cycle management of people to advance business practice. She guides the reader through the complexities of business change through collective thinking, collaborative practice, and being an organizational performance catalyst. Her thought-provoking questions and structured format create an easy reading experience with real-world application. Anderson’s book provides clear and practical advice for many audiences: new leaders, skilled practitioners, experienced leaders, and even those in other areas of the business. Repurposing HR creates a clear vision and guide for the HR profession to elevate HR practice and advance the profession.”

— Sandra J. Guerra, Ph.D., MBA, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, Past President, The Greater Orlando Society for Human Resource Management

“With increasing pressure to show a return on investment for human capital budgets, Repurposing HR provides a fresh and compelling perspective on how to connect human capital strategies to organizational performance. Carol’s book is a must-read for all HR executives who want to stay on top of their game.”

— Susan Havill, Vice President, Human Capital

“I was captivated within the first few paragraphs. Carol expressed thoughts and concerns I’d been having as a CEO, and I was eager to learn solutions. As I continued to read I felt as if Carol had been to my company and met with our team. She hadn’t. But, the discussion was insightful and relevant. The result: Our HR team is rediscovering its role in impacting what matters most to the company.”

— Larry F. Tobin, President/CEO, FAIRWINDS Credit Union

“An engaging and well-written road map for HR leaders to improve performance and productivity in any organization. Repurposing HR provides real-life recommendations for thinking and acting strategically and is a must-read for HR practitioners, CEOs and COOs as well as anyone interested in turning their HR department from a cost center to a true business partner.”

— Elena Freed, Chief Operating Officer, Red Square Agency

“Finally, an HR leader who gets it: HR exists to help the company achieve its goals and strategies. Repurposing HR is a much-needed book that provides numerous practical examples of how to drive business results. This book has the power to change a company’s performance from good to great. It is a must read for all C-level executives so they know the power of utilizing HR skills to drive company performance.”

— Michael Dinkins, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Greatbatch, Inc.

“Carol Anderson has taken the core principle that ‘HR exists to help the organization achieve its goals and strategies’ and created a framework and set of tools to help HR leaders move the function to better business alignment and more successful outcomes. Weaving the concepts through the story of an HR leader with a new team helps you visualize how possible—and necessary—the ‘repurposing’ of HR is.”

— Margaretta Noonan, Founder, noonanWorks, and Head of Talent, Avention, Inc.

About the Author:

Carol E. M. Anderson, SHRM-SCP, CCP, is the founder and principal of Anderson Performance Partners, LLC and lives in St. Augustine, Florida. She has been in the HR field since 1975, starting her Marine Corps career as a Personnel Officer. Prior to her current consulting business, she was the Chief Learning Officer of Orlando Health; Senior Vice President of Talent, Learning, and Compensation for LandAmerica Financial Group; Regional Practice Leader, HR Consulting for Marsh USA; and Senior Vice President, HR for Crestar/SunTrust Bank. She is a regular contributor to TLNT.com, has presented to numerous SHRM chapters and has been published in HBR.org.

Additional Info

Name Repurposing HR: From a Cost Center to a Business Accelerator
SKU 61.17006
Year published 2015
Page count 220
Publisher SHRM
ISBN 978-1-58644-381-8
Author Carol E. M. Anderson
Format Paperback