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HR Business Partner's (HRBP's) - Are They Really Business Partners?

by Sanjeev Himachali

posted in Business

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Over last few years there has been overuse of one job title - Human Resource Business Partner (HRBP). However, many title holders and title-givers don't seem to have understood the meaning of this role. First of all "HR Manager" and "HR Business Partner" is not same and hence cannot be used interchangeably. Secondly, HR Business Partner is a senior level role and hence an individual must have considerable amount of experience before being designated as HRBP. HR Business Partner is equal to Head of HR, SBU Head of HR, Country HR Head, and Regional HR Head. Responsibilities of HR Business Partner in any industry are as follows:
  • Cascade business segment goals and objectives to optimize alignment between business and human capital strategies, ensuring effective implementation
  • Partner with a business segment leader to develop and deploy strategic planning objectives to build a dynamic organization that delivers significant and sustainable growth.
  • Provide guidance to managers and employees regarding interpretation of company policies and procedures. Guide and coach managers on employee relations and HR issues in line with Company policies and best practice, including disciplinary, grievance, performance, redundancy and absence management
  • Advise and coach business leaders on matters related to talent management, including competency requirements, workforce planning, leadership selection, executive coaching, performance management, retention, and succession planning
  • Work in partnership with the operational management teams to identify opportunities and areas of improvement to support improved organisational and people performance in line with business needs
  • Drive efficiency and positive organizational results through lean, alignment of systems, processes and structures to drive the right people behaviour and engagement.
  • Leverage on employee data (e.g. exit interviews, climate survey results, turnover analytics) and the performance management system to improve employee engagement, performance and retention.
  • Develop & conduct team development/team building strategies both proactively and when necessary to improve team performance. Present options to managers on organizational structure, roles & responsibilities, staffing levels, and matrix management.
  • Maintains in-depth knowledge of legal requirements related to day-to-day management of employees, reducing legal risks and ensuring regulatory and policy compliance.
  • Achieve increased and sustainable business results through prudent spending on the people costs and assist the business make informed decisions with regard to people investment

  • Competencies required for being successful as HRBP -
  • Achievement Orientation - This competency involves working to achieve results and improve individual as well as organizational contribution. An individual who demonstrates this competency will analyse organizational outcomes in order to make decisions, set priorities or choose goals on the basis of calculated inputs and outputs. This includes analysing both process and people related outcomes. Further, he will keep track of and measures outcomes against a standard of excellence not imposed by others. Also, he will make decisions that allocate limited resources to meet policy objectives.

  • Business Acumen - An individual demonstrating this competency will have thorough knowledge of the organization's and the department's strategic direction, programmes, services, environmental influences and their long-term impact as it relates to human resource management. Further, he will be able to understand and clearly articulate the direction, culture, business challenges and priorities of the organization and take the appropriate action to align these functions with business direction and needs.

  • Change Leader - HRBP demonstrating this competence will be able to lead, develop, champion and promote change in the workplace, building employee and departmental support and commitment. He will also be able to persuade and convince others to gain support for the recommended need for change, providing reasonable and logical options and solutions.

  • Decisiveness - A decisive individual takes ownership of decisions and ensures decisions are consistent with legislation, precedent and established policies and procedures of organization. He will put systems in place to proactively monitor risks and determine acceptable risk tolerances. Further, he will integrate risk management into programme management and organizational planning.

  • Impact and Influence - A HRBP with competence of "impact and influence" will be able to develop and maintain open and honest professional relationships with colleagues, clients and stakeholders. He will be able persuade, convince and influence others in order to achieve understanding and reach agreement. Further, he will be able to guide and coach a diverse group of employees that results in a team that can meet its goals and objectives, while maintaining a healthy, productive, respectful and safe work environment which is free of discrimination. He will build "behind-the-scenes" support for ideas.

  • Lead and Develop Teams - Key behavioural indicators of this competency is the ability of HRBP to develop and implement strategies that build, support and enhance team morale and productivity as well as promote a positive and co-operative work environment. He gives feedback to direct reports, peers, and/or team members or other employees in behavioural rather than personal terms for developmental purposes, and refers them to available resources to help further their success. Further, he fosters a climate of openness, trust and solidarity among the staff by treating each person as a valued team member where people feel comfortable in expressing their opinions and needs.

  • Relationship Building - Relationship building involves the ability to develop contacts and relationships, internal and external to the organization, to facilitate work efforts or to gain support. This type of relationship is often quite deliberate and is typically focused on the way relationship is conducted. HRBP's who demonstrate this competency continuously works to build and maintain critical relationships and networks of contacts that contribute to the achievement of goals.

  • Results Orientation - Establishes and maintains effective accountability systems to review activities and goals against strategies; analyses performance information to set priorities and take calculated risks to improve the processes and HR activities, predicts emerging issues and manages associated risks. HRBP's exhibiting this competency is able to develop and maintain effective performance management and accountability systems ensuring activities and goals support organizational strategies.

  • Strategic Orientation - HRBP's who demonstrate this competency prioritize work in alignment with business goals, acts and implements strategies and policies in accordance with the organization's strategies, objectives and goals. They consider and reconsider impact of existing policies, processes and methods on future developments and trends. They also ensure that contingency plans exist for problems and situations that might occur.

  • Subject Matter Expertise - Detailed knowledge of HR principles, concepts, strategies, current trends and issues.

  • This write-up is an attempt to elaborate the role of HR Business Partner in an organization and highlight its importance. I hope this will be helpful in expanding your horizon of knowledge. HR Business Partners plays an important role in an organization provided their role has been appropriately carved and interpreted. In absence of right knowledge, HRBP will be nothing more than a fancy job title and another HR fad.
    About the Author: Email ID: sanjeev.himachali@gmail.com
    Website: http://www.hrtales.com

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