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Best Buy

Best Buy has more than 750 stores in the United States and Canada and more than 90,000
employees. It sells consumer electronics, personal computers, entertainment software, and
appliances. To ensure the organization’s success in this highly competitive environment, Best
Buy has developed a “customer-centric” corporate philosophy.

Its strategy, according to Randal Ross, Vice President, Human Resources, is to “identify and
eliminate work that takes time and focus away from connecting with and serving our
customers”. The organization intends to “do things quicker, smarter, at a lower cost – and with
a clearer focus”. To reach its goal, Best Buy is using several tactics, including setting priorities,
reallocating resources, leveraging outside expertise, forming strategic partnerships for activities
that are not directly “customer facing”, and developing standard change-management
processes.

HRM was seen as central to the enhanced focus on employees in terms of strategic impact,
cultural change and getting the best from employees. Best Buy sought the best from HRM too,
from anticipated improvement and employee contract support. The company wanted to
increase its ability to deliver effective and consistent HR services, to make sure new business
strategies could obtain support quickly and with flexibility, and to improve performance and
service delivery through aligning technologies with business processes.

Goals for HRM services included:


 Making access to services simpler and easier via a Web portal, a customer contact centre,
and real-time resolution of issues.
 Using HRM technology to support “one-stop shopping” data integrity and consistency,
integration of the Website and contract centre, and identification of trends, risks, and
opportunities.
 Creating a transparent and seamless HRM experience for employees and managers via
customized solutions, and an HRM experience that reflected Best Buy’s culture.
 Implementing strong risk management through consistent guidelines and processes, case
management and documentation, empowered internal HRM staff, and proactive policy
development, review, and application.

To arrive at the ends described, Best Buy established an outsource service delivery option in its
Minneapolis headquarters, plus limited local presence. Services to be delivered were rewards
(benefits and compensation), payroll, staffing, performance management, HRM generalist
support, employee relations and ethics, and HRM technology / applications management.

Best Buy chose Accenture HR as its Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) partner for a variety of
reasons, including an existing relationship, the company’s understanding of Best Buy’s culture,
and its ability, and its ability to meet Best Buy’s needs. The outsource operation assumed
responsibilities for these services and part of the ranks of HRM generalists. Accenture HR also
integrated third party vendor management for all contracts that fell within the scope of its
responsibilities.

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In the first year of the arrangement, a new service centre was established in Minneapolis, and
more than 100 Best Buy employees were moved to the outsource operation. The “phased in”
approach to transition capabilities includes:
 The move from “staffing” department to “talent discovery and acquisition”
 The deployment of a case-management tool for HR technology
 The launch of anew recruitment software package
 The creation of a new contract centre for service delivery that begins operations this
year.

Among the goals planned for this year are portal and benefits integration, establishment of
policies, reporting, and salary administration, and compensation. Best Buy believes it is ahead
of its competitors, in its HRM function.

Questions
1. Discuss the strategic significance of changing a title of a department from “staffing” to
“talent discovery and acquisition”?
2. “Best Buy should continue to connect with outsourcing services of a firm such as
Accenture”. Do you agree? Present your case with logic and evidence.
3. What are the possible positive and negative consequences of assigning total responsibility
to the vendor (Accenture) for the design, implementation and strategic direction of a HRM
function?
4. Discuss the applicability of the approach adapted by Best Buy to Sri Lankan business
organizations.