The Future of Work

Deloitte’s Bob Park has spent his entire career developing lofty, innovative HR solutions while keeping things down to earth

Photo: Harry Vitanis

Bob Park qualifies his answers with the same caveat: “I’m just a kid from Detroit.”

It’s as if highlighting his accomplishments over twenty years at Deloitte Consulting LLP might come off as bragging or that enacting HR solutions at some of the world’s largest organizations may seem too involved. Maybe it’s the fact that the second-generation Korean American saw economic downturn after economic downturn in a city that had once reigned as the world’s automotive capital, which in turn, made him incredibly fortunate to be where he is.

Now a principal at Deloitte, Park has watched the HR function transform since the mid-1990s, along with his clients’ business needs and expectations. He is intent on helping his clients answer the question: What is the future of work?

Park went straight into consulting after he finished school, which provided him a wide-lensed view not only of the evolution of HR but also his own role in working with clients.

“I think one of my skills is just being able to break things down into simpler terms when we talk about something like the ‘employee experience,” Park says. “I’m a brass tacks kind of guy, and that’s been the key to my success.”

Bob Park Deloitte
Bob Park, DeloittePhoto: Harry Vitanis

From experience that includes success and failure, Park is able to define and articulate often hard-to-grasp concepts. In the late-1990s, Park helped a global technology client reinvent its HR practices in a way that may seem laughable in more modern times.

“Back then a key HR activity was collecting paper forms and faxing them to be processed and filed,” Park says. “We moved those forms to email for employees and managers to submit themselves and evolve the mindset and role of the HR function.”

Fast-forward a decade later and Park was helping an aerospace and defense client move its email-able HR forms directly online. “Organizations continue to challenge the status quo and how the future of how work gets done—thinking about where their people shouldn’t be doing activities that aren’t value-added,” he says. “The days of HR folks completing and processing forms moved on to using mobile devices and to now using chatbots along with robotic process automation.”

One of Park’s most complex projects was helping unite HR and Payroll processes following the merger for a large transportation client.

“Our first challenge was determining a roadmap and delivery model for how HR and Payroll services were to be integrated,” Park says. “The second part was launching a brand-new technology platform while also deploying a whole set of new HR and Payroll processes.

“We discussed that instead of implementing changes and a technology that they would eventually have to later revisit, why not leapfrog, implement new technology and a support model that aligns with the future of work,” he continues. “Given their size and scale, the client has an influential position in the marketplace for others to follow.”

After the initial launch, additions have included a new recruiting site, new compensation, performance management, and succession planning capabilities, and all through cloud-based SAP SuccessFactors technology. But the business integration and technology implementation the transportation client was undertaking was not a small task.

Why was the client willing to take the risk? “The overarching goal was to achieve HR and Payroll integration and employ leading-edge business processes that takes advantage of cloud technology” Park says. “Deploying a single Talent Management, HR and Payroll solution and fostering a sense of community across team members was an important objective.”

Deloitte continued to aid the client with globally deploying a new core HR capability using SAP SuccessFactors along with a new SAP Payroll platform. “We wanted to take the HR and Payroll transactional processing they do today and move all 130,000 employees over into the cloud,” Park says. The move for Payroll is being done in phases to help minimize risk, but Park says the resulting move to the cloud will ultimately be invaluable for both the client’s HR and Payroll functions. “The end goal is to streamline and enhance HR and Payroll services with a single integrated solution.”

Park says that part of his success has come through not specializing on a particular industry—he’s worked for other transportation providers, technology and manufacturing organizations, aerospace & defense contractors, government entities, banking corporations, as well as life sciences and consumer product companies.

“Everyone always says, ‘You’ve got to know my business’ and I don’t disagree with that,” Park says. “I also think there’s much to take advantage of and apply from other industries and change the lens on the possibilities.”


Editor’s Note: As used here, “Deloitte” means Deloitte Consulting LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.