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Jim Collins and TV Rao: From HR to CEO!

TV Rao's article in TOI Ascent, Feb 13, had some interesting discussion on 5 levels of HR Managers, based on what they do.
I just created my own metrics and placed my descriptions in columns called, "Level of work", Hierarchy level' and "Action proposed".
I urge you to look at the Level 5 Definition of Jim Collins and check what is missing at all the levels of HR of TV Rao is, "Leadership". Things will be very different if Leadership is added at all the levels.

Refer to link for downloading the file..

Level of work
Nature of work
Hierarchy level
Action proposed
Level one HR
Bottom rung work
HR Administration: documentation, Data gathering, Record keeping and MIS
Clerical/Entry level
Outsourceable low end work
Level two HR
Just above the bottom, Coordinator and analyser of mundane data of time and attendance, appraisal form submission timeline, etc
Monitoring and execution: the focus is on collecting information, ‘reminding’ people, getting forms filled and statutory obligations fulfilled. These may also include data analysis and feedback to the top management. The measures are quantified in terms of appraisal forms filled in time,
Monitor people systems and processes, evaluate, suggest  improvement, alternatives, alert if any risk sensed
Level three HR
Designer and Architect/Evangelist, System evaluator, Does issues diagramming, cost-benefit and risk analysis, Viability studies and even small pilot projects.
Designing and implementing are vital activities wherein the focus is on reviewing the existing systems, redesigning and starting new practices in performance appraisals, incentives/performance-linked pay, learning and development and employee engagement; 
Manager and Specialist
Efficiency and Effectiveness manager, Shall lead organization from one level to other level.
Level four HR

Business focus and process and practice agent and implementer of cutting edge and “Leading Practices”.
Helps raise the bar and get HR a Specialist department status if not COE.
Strategising, innovating, integrating and leading. In this level, the HR manager has to be aligned with business goals and his/her concerns shift from having a ‘good HR’ to more of a ‘business driven HR ’set-up. The HR person at this level is constantly looking for what C K Prahalad called as ‘next practices’. At this level, HR focuses on building leadership across the organisation by using multiple tools including 360 degree feedback,
development centres, top management team-building exercises, etc. Here, HR becomes talent-focused and the concern is on acquiring, retaining, nurturing and multiplying talent;
Director level/Expert within company and Go to person for lot many tactical issues
Broad thinker on sustainability and competitiveness of HR systems, processes and policy against competition and market developments on all fronts of learning, technology leverage, and creation of platforms to keep talent, skills, competencies aligned to business delivery by helping build, rebuild, improve “Capability Building Frameworks”. Focus on talent strategy.
Level five HR
Strategist and knows what people strategy worked and what will not work so, what levers to apply on broader framework of HR in terms of outsourcing certain HR functions, right-sizing, rewards policy, retention strategies and M&A analysis and may be tough decisions to cut headcount in HR and work, Total Business decisions that keeps company in business or helps thrive o survive or wind up.
Most evolved and progressive level focused on making HR a business partner. Here, managers realise that there can be no business without talented people at all levels and particularly at the top. They believe in the philosophy that people make business and therefore, ‘business-driven talent management is essential. The focus shifts from tangibles to intangibles and from immediate and short-term performance goals to building long-term capabilities and from quarterly results to intellectual capital building and shareholder value enhancement. Dave Ulrich calls this ‘outside–in HR’. I call this ‘business-focussed HR’.
Chief People Officer
Sits in the boardroom and senses opportunity, risks, and keeps the whole HR architecture and engine agile, awake and oiled.


  1. Interesting and good. I look forward to more on this from Mrinal.
    T V Rao

  2. I agree with Mrinal if leadership is added at every level the meaning and activities change. I would like to propose a level six now for HR leadership post-pandemic. I will share my thoughts separately. Thanks Mrinal for reminding me on this. Your articulation is a great addition.


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