Business Process Re-engineering and Organisational Redesign
By Michelle Sprackett

By Michelle Sprackett

Business Process Re-engineering and Organisational Redesign


A South African university’s HR Department had identified several audit issues that their Audit Committee requested be resolved.

Issues were identified in certain key HR processes, namely Appointments, Terminations and Payroll and posed a risk to the University if not resolved. In addition, the manual nature of the transactional HR processes was constraining the capacity of the HR team, with the result that they were unable to give sufficient focus to the more strategic HR work required.

The HR operating model and supporting organisational structure were also identified as requiring review in line with the vision for the HR function, which was highly client centric, and needed a better balance between strategic and transactional HR.

The scope of the project therefore included reviewing the role of the HR Practitioners and other HR staff in line with the HR vision and any requirements arising from the optimised and automated HR business processes.


A Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) exercise was conducted to identify all risks within the processes and propose processes changes to ensure that these risks were mitigated.  The initial investigation identified the following process-related issues:

  • A lack of awareness of individual responsibilities;
  • A lack of focus on quality of output;
  • Poor record keeping;
  • Inadequate training of staff, and
  • A siloed way of working with little understanding of the overall impact of individual roles on other areas.


Business Process Re-engineering:

The processes within the HR department were workshopped with the relevant staff members and documented, highlighting the following:

  • Process steps and gaps identified;
  • Roles and responsibilities for each step of the process including handover points;
  • Duplication in roles and responsibilities; and
  • Opportunities for automation of processes.

Organisational Redesign

A revised organisational structure was proposed to ensure the appropriate grouping of skills, responsibilities and accountabilities.

Change Management and Communication

The project also highlighted the fact that there was general skepticism that change of any kind would be implemented owing to the failure of the organisation to implement changes previously. A change management and communication plan were proposed toenable a change in these perceptions and to engender confidence that changes were achievable.

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