What do you think about when you think about HR? Perhaps many would immediately think about payroll, job interviews, and contracts. Yes, these are within the scope of human resources, but there is so much more. The HR landscape continues to evolve. To suit the ever-changing needs of organizations and their people, experienced HR professionals and leaders have become more proactive in playing a more strategic role. In this article, we will get to know what an HR business partner is and how they contribute to an organization’s success.
What is the meaning of an HR Business Partner?
An HR business partner is an expert HR professional who holds a pivotal role in aligning human resource strategies with an organization’s goals and objectives. An HR business partner works directly with the senior leadership, management team, and business units of a company rather than with an internal HR department. Typically an independent role, an HR business partner does not have a direct report but can act as a mentor for other roles. Keep in mind that an HR business partner is not an HR manager. They are distinct from each other which we will discuss later in this article.
What are the job responsibilities of an HR Business Partner?
The primary objective of an HR business partner is to align the HR function with the overall business goals, vision, and targets. It is working alongside decision-makers and looking for strategic ways that HR can support what the business needs to steer it towards the desired outcome.
Part of the responsibilities of an HR business partner is having to be abreast of the needs of the business, its targets, and plans. To support these objectives, an HR business partner develops strategies in HR policies, workforce planning, training programs, succession planning, and executive coaching needs.
The focus of HR business partners is not on the day-to-day implementation and administration of HR rules and policies, but on ensuring that these fit into the overall strategy of the business.
What is a strategic business partner?
A strategic business partner is an ally in achieving organizational goals. An HR business partner is not necessarily a member of the C-suite or executive decision-makers of an organization. Being knowledgeable on the business needs, plans, and targets, an HR business partner works with them and provides recommendations and strategies relevant to their expertise. They serve as the voice of HR whose insights are valued.
What skills and experience do you need to become an HR business partner?
Not every HR practitioner can become an HR business partner right away. To become an HR business partner, an HR professional needs to have a specific skill set, knowledge, and experience.
An HR business partner is an expert with vast and extensive experience in different HR facets. HR best practices, conflict resolution, training and development, employee engagement, retention, performance management, and compensation practices are some examples of what HR business partners are experienced in managing.
Furthermore, HR business partners keep up to date with business trends, studies, and practices in HR. They possess excellent organizational, communication, and interpersonal skills. Strong analytical and problem-solving skills are also part of being an HR business partner.
An HR business partner understands all areas and departments of the company, looks for ways where HR can support them, and act on a strategic level.
How does an HR Business Partner differ from an HR Manager?
An HR business partner and an HR manager contribute to an organization in different ways. The HR manager leads and directs the company’s internal HR department. They focus on the day-to-day HR operations involving recruitment, policy administration, compensation and benefits, employee relations, engagement, management, terminations, and other tasks.
On the other hand, an HR business partner’s role lies beyond administrative duties. They work alongside business unit leaders, company decision-makers, and executives and come up with ways in which the HR function can contribute to the achievement of company goals. Although an HR business partner does not usually have a team reporting to them, they can collaborate with the company’s HR department regarding HR initiatives.
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