• Shenita Brokenburr

Leading Successful HR Transformation in Higher Education


In my prior role as Chief Human Resources Officer for one of the nation’s largest public higher education systems, I led the charge to develop and execute an enterprise-wide HR Transformation plan. That plan was developed around several important guideposts: benchmarking best practices, effective change management, business process review and developing our HR leaders through a Community of Practice.


Benchmarking best practices


The journey with HR Transformation began with benchmarking best practices for similarly situated institutions. We were guided by their wisdom, lessons learned, and effective strategies for successful large scale transformational change in the HR space.


Change management, communication, and stakeholder involvement


Change management proved to be a key lynchpin in readying the organization for change, mitigating resistance, and adopting and reinforcing change. Forming an Advisory Council to serve as our guiding coalition and providing train-the-trainer resources to support implementation is a strategy that helps build relationships, buy-in and champions for change.


Another aspect of change management is ensuring the organization has a strong communication strategy. This strategy should include regular enterprise-wide project updates, a project resources page, FAQs, and listening sessions designed as town halls and public forums. The goal is to build and sustain trust by ensuring a high level of transparency, delivering consistent communication, and at any point in time, employees should be able to access up to the minute information on project activities.


Business Process Review


Another key component of HR Transformation is an assessment of the current state for all HR functions, services, and outcomes. It is necessary to review and document all HR functions, hire-to-retire, then differentiate standardization potential versus transformational potential. The next step is to identify any additional resources needed, technical or otherwise, and ways to further streamline transactions. The process should also include a review of policies associated with each functional transaction and prioritization of policy changes. Click here for a quick overview of how to start and lead an internal Business Process Review.


HR Community of Practice


Instituting an HR Community of Practice (HR CoP) can be done formally or informally. A community of practice, by definition, is a group of people who share a common concern, interests, or a set of problems and come together for a specific purpose. Members of the community all share a common goal and agree to work collectively towards achieving that goal. In this case, the HRCoP model included an intentional mix of development tools designed to support the strategic role, agility, and development of capacity in the HR community. The framework includes collaboration through peer-to-peer connections, mentoring and coaching, leadership development, effective HR practices and experiential learning. Click here for a download of Bridge Braintrust HR CoP© Model.


In summary, as a firm, Bridge Braintrust has the subject matter expertise in higher education human resources, advanced skills, hands on experience with the ability to effectively execute and get things done! These skills will collectively advance the HR transformation agenda at your institution. Click here to get in touch and learn more.