“Human Resource Champion”, a popular book published by Dave Ulrich tackles the importance of Human Resource Management as a business arm that any enterprise can’t function without. The concept of Dave Ulrich or the “Ulrich Model” serves as a benchmark for many HR professionals today in their attempt to dissect and mobilize their multifaceted roles in the administrative, HR, and business partnership. The goal of utilizing the Ulrich model is to be able to make good and effective shifts from that of strategic management, to administrative, and Human Resources. Although there are people who might question the efficiency and relevance of the Ulrich Model today considering that it may be well past its prime, there still are a lot of businesses that find it a tangible part of business management.
What is the Ulrich Model?
The Ulrich Model is meant specifically to organize human resources functions. This was developed by David Ulrich who suggested that in giant organizations or large-scale businesses, HR functions should be compartmentalized into three segments. More so, he stressed that shared service activities should be operated in call centers which has a supporting technology or internet that can provide the basic support and administrative functions to the rest of the business.
Business partners then pertain to small teams or individuals who all work collaboratively with managers of the organizations to carry out strategic management and key initiatives. Now, the center of expertise acts as repositories of technical know-how in line with employment relations, resourcing, and reward; to name some. This aims to be able to promulgate and develop policies while also providing the support needed by different business units as well as shared services.
David Ulrich – “Father of Human Resources”
Dave Ulrich was no ordinary author as he was in fact looked upon as the great “Father of Human Resources; according to HR Magazine. This is a well-deserved recognition considering the contributions he has accorded the Human Resources industry. The dilemma today is that many people would claim that Ulrich Model could be impractical and insignificant in the 21stcentury or even beyond. Although, yes, many businesses still thrive in such practices, people were put in the dark ages in term of strategic maneuvers which could work well back in 1995 but is regarded obsolete and irrelevant today.
HR practitioners would suggest that it is better to revamp the HR roles and integrate technology to transform everything altogether and make it more modern. The full suite could then work for the HR millenials today. But, this may look and sound easy but that is actually complicated to execute.
Confusion and Debate with the Efficiency of the Ulrich Model
HR experts would contest that there is in fact nothing wrong with the Ulrich Model; whether you decide to use it in any generation. The difference or mistake would then lie with HR professionals who would use the Ulrich Model without completely understanding how it functions as a whole. Some would just do cherry picking and attempt to simplify it; picking the best part and disregarding some along the way. These neglected parts are said to be those that are too difficult to understand and implement altogether.
According to HR Magazine, “people too often see the structure part of his theories as a ‘solution’ – something which, once implemented, will automatically deliver brilliant HR. As with anything, the reality is of course much more nuanced. As with anything, it’s often not what you do, but how – or rather how intelligently – you do it,” said Ulrich.
For one, the Ulrich Model is in actuality, a blueprint meant to keep HR functions seamless; this then does not translate into certain jobs. This is an all too common misconception of the Ulrich Model which created a lot of confusion. This then resulted to many companies launching business partners without placing outsourcing or shared service centers. This leaves many organizations dismantled in how they would balance transactions with customer expectations. Many HR practitioners fail to understand that Dave Ulrich pointed out that transforming HR does not rely mainly on HR functions but that senior management and CEO also have important roles to play to make everything work.
Up until now, many companies still lack an HR integrated system to keep records organized and so as for payroll, recruitment, talent or skills management, education, and training. These gaps create inefficiency in the administrative and management branches; which are key areas of the Ulrich Model. Sadly, many HR practitioners did not get firsthand information regarding the Ulrich Model. They seems to have known about this through second-hand sources like magazine articles, news, consultancy firms, and other professional networks (online and offline).
More so, very few HR professionals would actually read Dave Ulrich’s original work and would be in the loop of new developments or modifications. The workplace makeup and structure evolves over time and more likely than not, the Ulrich Model should also be able to change with the tide. This is where the confusion lies. Dave Ulrich that if any HR consultant or practitioner would be following through his 1997 model and would not keep track of the constant updates and revisions that he has been doing with the Ulrich Model would really be obsolete in that sense. He is by essence, a pragmatic, and is pretty flexible with his theories. His most recent work which is in 2012 showcases the most recent development in the model.
Basic Principles in the Ulrich Model
Despite the lingering confusion on its implementation, the principles surrounding the Ulrich Model remains and these are the following: to create a unified structure that delivers value, define a clear distinction or role for the Human Resources, create a competitive edge for the company, and be able to measure how a company has performed according to metrics. It’s not a perfect system like any other but it provides a solid benchmark for an organization.
The most current study by Dave Ulrich – “Ulrich Comes Of Age” marks the 18th founding anniversary of the “Human Resource Champions” which was published in 1996. David Ulrich’s book’s timing was perfect as it was written at that times wherein many companies struggled with the fundamentals of HR operations. There have been many achievements and productive effects manifested and evident in recent HR operations specifically with commercial focus as evident with the practices of Mettl; which shows that the Ulrich Model and his theories have predicted progress in the HR arena.
In the quest for HR efficiency, many organizations have invested heavily on HR infrastructure but lack in talent or skills management. Now, this aspect is very critical to business. There is no one-size-fits all metrics that would mesh with any organization as each company has its own unique needs. Organizations should look into Ulrich Model as the standard but should try to innovate or be creative with the design that can be applicable to their own organizational structure and changing needs.
Originally posted November 7, 2016
In the digital age, fast moving organizations can no longer afford to hire employees just as per their resumes and the recruiters’ gut instincts. That’s why use of assessments in pre-hiring has become very popular, not just for IQ skills, but for coding skills as well. The goal here is to use an assessment which lets you dig deep into a candidate’s skills in ways that can’t be achieved through group discussions and long interviews, without bias.
However, the most popular form of assessment is MCQ-based which falls short of capturing the hands-on skills of the candidates applying for a coding role. Since the candidate selects a response from a list of alternatives rather than supplying or constructing a response, multiple choice question-based assessment only tests knowledge and recall and not creativity, unique thinking or the ability to construct. While hiring coders, it is necessary to test the candidate’s skills in real-world situations, customized to your organizational needs. This cannot be achieved entirely through MCQ based assessments and for this, Coding Simulator based assessments should be used.
In coding simulator based assessments, candidates are asked to write a code from scratch, and then the code is evaluated on various parameters. These tests are designed to not only to check common coding techniques, but also analytical, interpretational and holistic thinking skills.
Simulator based tests create a real-time environment to check the candidates’ capability to work on real life projects. Doing so gives you insights into the candidate’s skills and their problem-solving abilities; both extremely crucial for programmers. While MCQ based tests only focus on candidate’s knowledge of theories, simulator based test enables you to test candidates’ understanding of these concepts by requiring them to use these concepts in practical applications.
Correlation between MCQ and Coding TestsMettl has conducted online tests for 100+ companies with 60,000+ candidates, and we have done some analysis on our end to present a few interesting insights.
It has been observed that the candidates who have performed well in technical MCQ based tests might not perform well in a simulator based test as well. Over the years, we have seen poor correlations between the performance in MCQ based test and simulator based tests.
Only 20-30% of the good performers in the MCQ test are also able to score well in coding tests. So, while most of the candidates recall programming concepts, however very few can apply them to real-world situations. The key here is recalling v/s understanding and application, and it is understanding and application that needs to be determined.
Simulator based assessments enable you to filter out the very best candidates from the lot. These assessments allow you to gain insight into the quality of code written by the candidate and answer lot many other questions
For the effective and valid evaluation of the candidates’ programming skills, following parameters should be measured through coding simulators.
Following are the parameters:
In Mettl we make sure that every question should have at least 10 to 12 tests cases covering from basic to boundary cases.
For different job profiles, different coding skill sets are required; for a trainee level, you might just evaluate the candidate on basic programming fundamentals but for a developer role you will also focus into coding style, code efficiency, data structures etc. Different parameters measured through these simulators let you dig deep and evaluate the candidate’s coding skills are per the organization’s requirement.
Using coding simulator based assessment enables you to identify candidates with strong coding skills, and also sharpen the identification, by simultaneously evaluating the code on various quality and efficiency parameters, which is not possible through manual intervention. Automated assessments remove subjectivity from the evaluation process and provide detailed feedback of the candidate’s coding skills in a timely manner, resulting in more efficient hiring process.
Originally posted August 6, 2017
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