AHRI launches new Model of Excellence

HRM online


written on January 7, 2015

Want a clear picture of the capabilities and behaviours that are expected of you as a practitioner, according to your HR peers? AHRI’s updated Model of Excellence shows you just that.

The AHRI Model of Excellence will make you think about three central questions: As an HR practitioner, what am I expected to know? The next question is what am I expected to do as a practicing professional? And finally, what am I expected to be? The Model of Excellence is designed to give you a guide or framework for your own HR practice and to define your career objectives. AHRI has also provided a self-assessment tool to assist with HR career pathways (see below for how to self-assess).

What is the Model of Excellence?

The Model of Excellence is a graphic representation (pictured) that combines what HR practitioners should know, what they are expected to do, and what their peers expect them to be in terms of behaviours and capabilities. The circles of the graphic sets out 10 behaviours and seven capabilities that were confirmed as essential for HR practitioners in the most recent 2014 AHRI member survey ‘What is Good HR?’ Going back 10 years, the idea of the Model of Excellence was developed based on two surveys of Australian HR practitioners and CEOs.

Since then it has gone through a number of iterations, having been informed by local, national and global data including inputs from the international RBL Human Resource Competency Study under the leadership of Professor Dave Ulrich from the University of Michigan.

What does AHRI use the Model of Excellence for?

Currently, there are more than 90 courses at more than 35 Australian educational institutions with AHRI accreditation. The Model of Excellence is used as the conceptual basis for assessment and accreditation of all HR management programs in technical and vocational education, providing assurance to industry that graduates possess the necessary practical competencies required to successfully operate in their field.

The Model of Excellence also informs and underpins AHRI intellectual property with respect to the content of formal qualifications and informal short-courses, as well as the standards of excellence that guide judging for the annual AHRI Awards. In addition, it operates as a guide to the design of HR tools and templates such as job descriptions, performance appraisals and the like for use by practitioners. In 2015, the Model of Excellence will be introduced as the foundation for all AHRI intellectual property and also included as the basis for future accreditation of tertiary and vocational HR courses.

Next steps

In what is an evolving picture, in 2015 the ‘What is Good HR?’ survey will be put to a sample group of CEOs to get an ‘outside-in’ perspective on what they expect of HR. We will also participate in the seventh round of the global RBL competency study. Stay tuned.

What HR industry experts had to say

Peter Wilson AM (FCPHR), AHRI chairman
“AHRI’s Model of Excellence will underpin all of our future professional accreditation and development activities. The HR professional is no different to any other highly skilled co-worker. We all want to understand what is expected of us in our career.”

Ian Fitzgerald, Australian Public Service chief human capital officer
“A challenge for members of the HR profession in the Australian Public Service [APS] is to position our contribution in strategic terms. HR leaders in the APS today are increasingly focused on identifying opportunities to work together at functional levels and as a profession. AHRI’s model and tools will assist us to think about how we identify and develop future leaders.”

Jon Scriven, Qantas group executive, people and office of the CEO
“I’m very excited about AHRI’s new MoE. It provides a comprehensive picture of what HR professionals should strive to be and should strive to be good at. It has the great benefit of combining the best academic thinking with the experiences of leading HR practitioners.”

Tanya Hammond, AHRI ACT president and Tailored HR Solutions director
“Considerable research underpins the MoE. A key objective was to ensure practicality and relevance to an Australian context, yet not dismiss extensive work undertaken by other HR-related associations including the United Kingdom-based Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the United States-based Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).”

Dr Fang Lee Cooke, chaired professor of HRM and Asia studies, Faculty of Business and Economics, Monash University
“Crafted following rounds of brainstorming through consultations with senior practitioners and academics in the field, the MoE’s rigorous and comprehensive design captures key competencies, attitudinal attributes and personality traits required from an HR professional to add value to the modern workplace. This is not just an elegant model, but also a highly practical model for HR practitioners to benchmark their skill and knowledge bases for development purposes and keep them ahead of the game.”

Dr Kim Schofield (FCPHR), Kapability Solutions managing director
“The MoE is flexible – practitioners can focus on specific competencies and behaviours to suit their different career stages in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, and it can be applied to the HR generalist as well as those wanting to develop expertise in various HR specialties.”

Dr Alan Nankervis, AHRI national accreditation committee chairman and Curtin University HR management professor
“AHRI’s MoE represents a new and exciting stage in the development of the HR profession in Australia. Blending the knowledge and capability components of HR management professional practice, it presents a clear and sound framework for understanding the complex nature of HR responsibilities; promoting the value and contributions of HR management to organisational goals and objectives; communicating effectively with senior, middle and line managers; evaluating HR competencies, and their reflection in associated strategies, systems and processes; and enhancing the overall confidence of HR professionals.”

How to self-assess and then up skill through tailored courses and event guidance

AHRI’s online training needs analysis (TNA) tool enables you to take the MoE framework further into your workplace. Underpinning all AHRI’s future professional certification and development activities, this tool allows HR practitioners to assess themselves and choose training programs that suit their needs.

Here’s how the training needs analysis tool works

  1. You access the tool on the AHRI website, where upon registration you are given a unique login.
  2. You will answer a set of self-assessment questions across the seven AHRI capabilities and behaviours based on the MoE.
  3. Having completed your assessment, you receive a personalised PDF report detailing your strengths and development opportunities.
  4. Where there are development opportunities identified, the report gives you training and development recommendations.


You can visit the AHRI website to access the training needs analysis tool.

Video: You can hear from Qantas group executive, people and office of the CEO and AHRI board member, Jon Scriven, on how the model is relevant for all sectors and career levels. Watch the video.

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3 thoughts on “AHRI launches new Model of Excellence

  1. I like the model, with one exception. I do not understand why organisational objectives are not at that the centre. Surely it is the organisational objectives, combined with the organisational environment that define the required organisational capability?


    Phil McDonald.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Phil. There is no question that organisational objectives must be at the centre of what we do and why we do it. However, that imperative doesn’t just apply to HR but also to the other key resources used in running a business, such as the capability of its finances, its fixed assets, and its operational systems.

    The thinking behind the design of the AHRI model of excellence diagram has been to focus on the ‘capability’ of human resources in contributing to organisational objectives, which is why ‘HR capability’ is at the centre point of the diagram. That said, it should be noted that ‘organisational objectives’ sits near the centre and is surrounded on all sides by the various ‘human’ skills, knowledge and professional acumen that HR practitioners believe the organisation needs to harness in order to achieve its objectives.

    The diagram is an insider reflection of what HR practitioners believe they should know, be and do. Later this year AHRI will survey CEOs to get an outside-in look at what they want from the HR function. That may result in feedback that prompts amendments to the diagram, which is intended to be a fluid rather than a fixed reflection of the changing world in which business in general, and HR in particular, operates.

    In addition, other feedback during the year, such as your comment here, will inform our thinking on further amendments to the diagram.

    Angelina Pillai
    National Manager, Professional Development

  3. Great question Phil. In designing the model the intent was to have building organisational capability as the overall goal of the HR professional. However in order to achieve this the HR Professional first of all needs to:
    1. develop a set of professional behaviours (which is the outer circle of the model).
    2. develop a basic set of core HR competencies which are required to work in any organisation, e.g busiiness driven, strategic architect (which is the second circle), then use these skills to
    3. develop a good understanding of the organisations objectives and context (which is the third circle), then use this knowledge to
    4. develop and deploy their expertise for e.g. in workforce and workplace design (which is the fourth circle) in order to
    5. build organisational capability (inner circle)
    As such using knowledge of the organisations objectives and context is an essential part of the journey in building organisational capability.

    Kim Schofield
    Managing Director
    Kapability Solutions

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