The role of an HR Business Partner

The role of an HR Business Partner

The role of “HR Business Partner” has been blurred over the years as many businesses have taken a shine to the term and coined the title “HR Business Partner” (HRBP) instead of the more traditional HR Manager title. But what in fact is a true HR Business Partner role? The role of HR Business Partner was initially introduced into larger businesses with many business units or departments where HR Managers were spread too thin and it was hard to gain a deep insight and knowledge into all areas of the business and to be commercially, as well as technically strong in HR.

For HR to truly add value to a business it must also be commercially strong. If HR understands the business drivers and what the business is trying to achieve it can create a HR strategy to achieve it and can tailor its HR plans around it, along with it’s advice.

So, a HR Business Partnering model in a business, involves having a dedicated HR Business Partner aligned to a specific business unit or department, such as Sales, Operations or Engineering, enabling the HRBP to become an true expert in this area of the business. The benefits are:

• Strong and positive relationships throughout the department are formed with HR
• The HRBP becomes a specialist in identifying and recruiting talent for roles within the business unit it supports, increasing the quality and time to hire
• The HRBP becomes commercially strong, understanding the business customers and market challenges
• The HRBP becomes a trusted mentor, business advisor and coach to the team it supports, especially to Leaders and Managers
• The in-depth knowledge and expertise gained from a dedicated HR partner increases retention and productivity of staff within the business unit

A true HR Business Partner will have strong influencing skills since they work so closely with the business unit in a strategic role, persuading and informing the business and if trusted and given the right autonomy will play a key part in the growth and success of the business unit for which they partner.

That said, don’t forget, many HR Business Partner roles that are now advertised are HR Manager roles that partner the whole business and not one department and business unit, but the business has chosen to use the title of Partner rather than Manager perhaps merely because they like the sound of the title, or it fits with other job titles in the business or the culture and tone of voice throughout the business.

So what does a HRBP do? HR Business Partners work with teams, managers and key stakeholders to help build organisation and people capability, and shape and implement effective people strategies and activities within the organisation.

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