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Transforming HR in partnership with the business at QBE Insurance

Jenni Smith (QBE Insurance Group Limited, Sydney, Australia)
Claire Davies (QBE Insurance Group Limited, Sydney, Australia)

Strategic HR Review

ISSN: 1475-4398

Article publication date: 7 August 2009




The purpose of this paper is to describe the transformation of HR at QBE Insurance, which the company's group general manager, HR has led since joining the organization in 2003. The paper seeks to focus specifically on how the group HR team has engaged both the business and divisional HR teams across an international operation to enable this transformation.


The paper discusses a series of integrated changes, driven by group HR, which aim to raise awareness of the contribution that more effective people management can have on business goals. These changes relate to culture, executive development, performance management, personal development planning, succession planning and talent management. The paper explains how each of the key changes has been introduced by influencing business leaders and divisional HR teams, underpinned by a clear and consistent “ONEHR” vision that is aligned to business needs, which group HR has then mobilized effectively to deliver change.


The group general manager, HR's approach to implementing QBE's “ONEHR” plan has transformed group HR's relationship with the company's business leaders, supported the transformation of the HR operating models in each of the divisions and had a positive impact on QBE's overall business results.

Practical implications

QBE group HR's experiences may be useful to other HR teams developing their role within an international business, wanting to become more strategic, or setting out to increase their credibility and influence with business leaders.


The paper describes how HR, by focusing on the right things, can work more effectively together across geographical boundaries to engage with business leaders to influence them towards new ways of managing people. It also demonstrates the role of HR working in a true partnership capacity alongside the business, helping them to gain more value from their people.



Smith, J. and Davies, C. (2009), "Transforming HR in partnership with the business at QBE Insurance", Strategic HR Review, Vol. 8 No. 5, pp. 11-17.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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