What’s the Future for HR Business Partners?

OD Process


As we see the HR Functions reorganizing and adapting to meet the needs of the business globally, the question is whether there is a future for the HR Business Partner role. The thought leadership from Dave Ulrich to chart the journey of the HR Business Partner model has had a significant impact globally as organizations have leveraged those inputs to transform their HR Organizations to be more aligned to the business and deliver more value.

The impact of technologies like Artificial Intelligence, the focus on reducing cost, meeting needs of the multi-generational workforce, and more are continuing to influence the evolution of the HR Business Partner model and the required competencies. In spite of the many challenges and changes, the HR Business Partner model has been able to face the test of time and relevance due to its ability to adapt to the emerging needs. Clearly, the HR Business Partner role is here to stay and could be one of those roles which may not be entirely outsourced. However one challenge which could derail the HR Business Partner model is the skill level of the HR Business Partner. This can impact the delivery of the HR Function, the perception by the business and the effectiveness of the role holder. The HR Business Partner needs to have a consistent knowledge and skill level to be able to do the following.

  • Business Partner – While most HR Business Partners focus on the HR aspect of HR Business Partnering, they need a set of skills to become a Business Partner first.
  • Trusted Advisor – The HR Business Partner needs to know how to develop and maintain trust and that becomes the foundation for becoming an advisor. If the HR Business Partner needs to get a seat at the strategy table, they should know how to become a Trusted Advisor first.
  • Change Champion – With organizations experiencing transactional and transformation change, the HR Business Partner needs the knowledge & skills to facilitate change, to enable the business to become successful and facilitate employee transitions.
  • Data, Process, & Technology Skills – The HR Business Partner needs to know how to leverage data, seamless processes and the latest technology to ensure effective delivery of the role.

These are some of the key requirements in addition to the knowledge and skills in HR Functional areas. When we reflect, the HR Functional skills can make someone a good HR Team member but transitioning to a HR Business Partner requires skills in the above four areas. In addition, consistent knowledge and skill levels in all their team members will go a long way in making the HR Team a winning team. The upcoming HR Business Partner Certification program is an excellent option to upskill the current HR Business Partners or those who are new to the role.


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