Case Study: Transforming HR Into a True Business Partner

May 14, 2018

Aon partnered with a large regional U.S. bank to transform their HR function into a true business partner. The case study below outlines Aon's approach and insights to building a successful relationship between the organization and its HR function.


The bank was attempting to grow its equity trading business by 25%_ However, instead of revenue growth, due to market conditions, the client faced a 12% in decrease revenue. In order to better meet their revenue target, the client looked into the compensation, productivity and efficiency and effectiveness of its sales people.


Client Challenges

  • Business growth needed
  • Talent shortage
  • Misaligned incentive structure

Working with HR and the Head of the Equity Sales business, Aon leveraged client business and HR data with the Aon proprietary data to conduct a sophisticated analysis to understand the productivity of the Equity sales team.

Aon uncovered three key insights from the analysis. First, the Equities business had a shortage of sales professionals to meet its business demand effectively. Second, there was a need to enhance the profile of the sales team to add more "hunters" to the team which was largely dominated by "farmers." Third, there was a need to re- visit the incentive structure and have a stronger alignment between HR performance management system and on the street performance of the traders when it comes to bonus pay-outs.

HR acted as a true business partner by presenting critical insights for the skills needed to build a more powerful sales force.

Aon Solution

In addition to adjusting revenue targets for the year, the client re-examined the skills and characteristics required to be successful in a sales role. This involved bringing together executives across the organization, including the human resources function. Aon helped determine the amount of revenue the client could reasonably expect depending on how quickly the organization could recruit the type of sales people they needed


Rather than serving as just a provider to the business, the human resources function acted as a true business partner. HR communicated what qualifications and skills were needed to establish a powerful sales force for the organization that would directly impact revenue goals and then executed on the strategy to onboard those individuals.

Key Results

  • Growth target for the bank's equity trading business required more "hunters' on the sales team vs. "farmers'
  • 25% new incentive structure tied bonus payouts to performance more accurately
  • HR acted as a true partner to the business by recruiting more effective sales team
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