What is an HR business partner?

An HR business partner (HRBP) is a senior HR professional who collaborates with executives to facilitate alignment between business objectives and HR strategy

An HR business partner represents the HR department to executives, contributing valuable people solutions to drive positive business outcomes. HR influencer Josh Bersin discusses the essential competencies of a high-caliber HRBP, which include: 

  • Integrity
  • Agility
  • Social networking skills
  • Knowledge of the business and its jargon 
  • Digital competency and data analysis
  • Courage and leadership 
  • Empathy 
  • Critical thinking
  • Problem-solving

Sandy Allgeier, SPHR, refers to HR business partners as “internal consultants” because they advise managers and executives on effective methods to improve overall company performance. 

Why should we care about HR business partners?

HRBPs play a critical role in business success. Ideally, they bridge the gap between executives’ big-picture roles and HR professionals’ detail-filled responsibilities. HRBPs’ expertise, strategic insights, and advice can enhance workforce management, thereby boosting:

  • Profit
  • Productivity
  • Retention

An HRBP supports executives in steering the organization towards effective utilization of its most valuable asset, its people, to drive engagement and business performance. 

What can HR business partners do to mold an effective HR strategy?

HR business partners can implement these practices to develop an HR strategy that spurs company success:

  • Become an expert in business knowledge. HRBPs need to immerse themselves in the business aspects of the organization. Speaking to many different leaders can provide valuable insights that depict a holistic perspective of the company. 
  • Demonstrate integrity, especially when coaching. Coaching other leaders demands that the HRBP put ego and judgment aside to provide quality aid and protect individual privacy. If the HRBP senses that they aren’t a proper match for the employee, they should be ready to find an appropriate replacement.
  • Collaborate with the finance dept. HRBPs should prioritize building a strong relationship with the Chief Finance Officer (CFO). Cooperation between the CFO and HRBP can help both leaders make data-driven decisions, promoting successful talent management and strategic financial planning. 
  • Communicate with managers. A user-friendly HRIS platform can facilitate communication and frequent feedback between managers and HRBPs. Manager feedback is a critical component in identifying pressing issues within a company.
  • Utilize data to tell an impactful story. Though HRBPs do not need to perform in-depth statistical analysis, they need to know how to pull and interpret crucial data. HR business partners should focus on studying and contextualizing relevant data so that they can tell a powerful story that moves executives and stakeholders to action. 

How can HR business partners improve company culture?

HR business partners spearhead HR strategy to elevate every aspect of an organization. Proactive shaping of HR processes promotes employee engagement, job satisfaction, motivation, and overall company success. Through offering trusted advice and providing applicable people solutions, an HRBP can navigate the company towards developing a thriving, enjoyable, and attractive work culture.