Four HR Roles by Dave Ulrich

David Ulrich is a real HR Guru, who defined the most common HR Roles model, which commonly used on the market. The model is well known for introducing mainly the aspects of Human Resources with the highest value added.

The main contribution of the David Ulrich’s HR Model was the start of the movement from the functional HR orientation to the more partnership organization in HRM Function. Business Partnering is not possible to implement without a major shift in the HR Organization. The benefit was a more responsible and flexible organization of Human Resources, which allowed to many HR Professionals to become real respected business partners.

Common HR Functions resulting from HR Model by Dave Ulrich
Common Split of HR Functions resulting from HR Model by Dave Ulrich

4 HR Roles defined by Ulrich

The HR Model defined by Ulrich brings for main criteria:

  • strategic partner
  • change agent
  • employee champion
  • administrative expert

Strategic Partner is about alignment of HR activities and initiatives with the global business strategy and it is the task of the HR Management and HR Business Partner. Sometimes, it sounds easy to implement Strategic Partnership, but it needs a lot of effort from Human Resources.

4 HR Roles as defined by Dave Ulrich in his HR Model
4 HR Roles as defined by Dave Ulrich in his HR Model

Change Agent is a very important area of the Ulrich’s HR Model. Change agent is about supporting the change and transition of the business in the area of the human capital in the organization. The role of Human Resources is the support for change activities in the change effort area and ensuring the capacity for the changes.

Administrative Expert changes over the period of time. In the beginning, it was just about ensuring the maximum possible quality of delivered services, but nowadays the stress is put on the possibility to provide quality service at the lowest possible costs to the organization.

Employee Champion is a very important role of Human Resources. The employee advocate knows what employees need and HRM should know it. The employee advocate is able to take care about the interest of employees and to protect them them during the process of the change in the organization.

Pitfalls in 4 HR Roles

All the HR Roles defined by Ulrich are essential for the success of the whole HRM Function. The stress must be put to all the areas, there is no chance to select one and to excel in this one concrete area.

Many HRM Managers forget to balance the approach and they decide to be a real star in one of the needed components and they forget about the danger not meeting the basic requests and expectations in the rest.