A Breakdown of the HR Business Partner


Written by Dr. Nancy Zentis, CEO, Institute of OD

“Effective HR practices that drive results are critical to organization success in today’s market, however, HR continues to struggle to deliver the value organizations need.”

The role of Human Resource continues to be an important part of an organization’s success but today’s rapidly changing landscape requires HR leaders to play a more strategic role in the organization as business partners.

As experts in recruiting, training, and retaining employees, HR professionals are required to become more active in helping senior leaders align the human resource goals with strategic business goals.

As a result, the role of HR Business Partner is on the rise, and it’s a significant change from the role of the HR manager.

Who does the HR Business Partner work with?

The HR business partner works directly with senior leaders and business units within an organization and provides consulting on HR issues. HR professionals are more actively involved in working with leaders on an overall HR strategy and anticipate business problems to achieve better business results.  Another important role is acting as an employee champion to identify their concerns and needs, and find solutions. Ultimately, HR Business Partners are responsible for achieving results and acting as a trusted and strategic advisor to senior leaders.

What is an HR business partner?

The role of an HR business partner is an experienced human resource professional who works directly with an organization’s senior leadership to develop and direct an HR agenda that closely supports organizational goals.

The HR business partner works closely with the senior leadership team, collaborating regularly with executive leadership to ensure HR is a part of the organizational strategy. This business partner model for human resources is becoming more and more popular in organizations today.

What does it mean to be a strategic business partner?

A strategic HR business partner is a leader who is included in conversations about the future, mission, goals, and overall strategy of a company or organization with a voice in HR Strategy.  A strategic business partner is a consultant whose opinions and ideas are valued. The HR business partner can offer recommendations, make decisions, and carry out goals.

To be valued as a strategic business partner and human resources professional, you must have a certain set of skills and knowledge. This HR professional must understand all areas and departments of the business and how HR can benefit these aspects. The individual is skilled in listening to problems and ideas, and in clearly articulating solutions.

  • Know the business
  • Become a Strategic Partner
  • Build relationships
  • Consult with senior leaders on critical issues and needs
  • HR Strategic Planning Approach
  • Lead Organization Change


What are the key roles of the HR Business Partner?

  • Acting as a single point of contact for internal clients
  • Supporting internal clients in achieving their business goals
  • Helping to deliver state of the art HR processes
  • Providing instant and immediate feedback on HR processes, procedures and initiatives
  • Leading Change Management Projects
  • Designing talent pipelines and supporting talent management for the entire organization
  • Acting as an independent adviser to employees


What are the key responsibilities?

  • Setting challenging HR goals to support the business and senior leaders needs
  • Influencing senior leaders to support HR projects and initiatives
  • Managing large change management projects across the enterprise
  • Creating workforce planning, succession planning, and performance management plans and implementing them
  • Identifying skills needed to support organization goals, and attracting, recruiting, onboarding, and developing talent.

The need for talent specifically trained for the role of HR business partner is critical to the future success of any organization. Position yourself as an expert in human resources with the HRBP credentials from IOD’s online HRBP Certification Program.  Propel your career forward!  To learn more visit our website, www.instituteod.com.


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