The HR Business Partner - A Complete Guide

You can have the best strategy and the best building in the world, but if you don't have the hearts and minds of the people who work with you, none of it comes to life.” Renee West

If you want your organization to succeed in today’s world, you need an HR business partner (HRBP). It’s the perfect role for unlocking your unknown potential and creating the company you have always envisioned.

In the following lines, we will explain what an HR business partner is, the responsibilities of a person having this role, the main tasks, and why this concept is entirely different from an HR manager.

Contents:

  • What is an HR business partner?
  • Functions and responsibilities of an HR business partner
  • Main tasks of an HR business partner
  • Portrait of an HR business partner
  • HR business partner vs. HR manager.

What is an HR business partner?

An HR business partner is an experienced human resources professional whose central role is to incorporate the “people strategy” with the “business strategy” within an organization, regardless of size or industry. An HRBP will continue to focus on people (as it’s the usual concern of HR) while also considering the business side of things to help the organization achieve its targets and objectives and accomplish the desired success and performance.

The HRBP has to be the link between the HR and the business.

We are looking at a profoundly strategic role. That is why an HRBP usually works directly with high management and constantly connects with line/project managers aware of the organizations' business strategies. 


Functions and responsibilities of an HR business partner

As mentioned, the HRBP is a functional role across departments. It is not confined to a specific one within the company; therefore, it’s crucial to the organization. Here are the most important functions to take into consideration:

Evaluating and monitoring existing policies and procedures to see if they are consistent with the company’s objective, correctly disseminated among the employees, and accepted and correctly implemented.

Acting as an emergency point of control and help by providing immediate fixes to critical emergencies.

Initiating and implementing solutions to individual employee issues and fighting for every employee, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, etc.

Designing and implementing company-wide strategies to tackle constant challenges. 

Note: We have prepared a guide on the ten challenges of managing annual leave for employees and how to overcome them.

Unfortunately, many executives nowadays still see the HRBP as mainly an administrative role. But make no mistake, this is much more complex. We are talking about a senior HR professional, an organizational expert, a hero for employees, and a strategic partner who has to be part of the change organization-wide. You need to see the HRBP working in and for the big picture.

Pro tip: If you’re interested in learning more about people operations, we have a guide to showcase a better way to engage, automate, and empower your workforce.

 

Main tasks of an HR business partner

What might be asked of an HR business partner in terms of tasks? There are differences between organizations that come out of the industry they activate in or maybe out of every company's mission, vision, and values. But all in all, here are the core tasks of an HRBP:

  • Strategic Management of HR Processes - Employees are your organization’s most valued asset, so an HRBP has to make sure to focus on them. They have the skills to identify the issues in recruiting, retaining, and hiring. Using people analytics, an HRBP can stay on top of employee retention.
  • Staff Learning & Development - Once you have hired the right employees, it’s crucial to make sure they stay with you.
  • Your organization (through the HR department and the HR business partner) needs to develop programs that will help employees develop every day. Such employee development programs are crucial not only for productivity but also for increased value across the organization.
    An employee who feels appreciated is less likely to go and search for your competitors on the market. Tip: If you're missing some inspiration, check our appreciation messages.
  • Collaboration with management - An HR business partner will be a direct point of contact for executive management when dealing with HR strategies and planning. It is essential to know the HR needs of the organization and be able to present solutions to the challenges ahead.
  • Being part of the Change processes - Digital transformation is the key to solving HR professionals' many challenges. All roles need to be more dynamic. For example, recruiting and onboarding need to be done online.
    So this is another area where the HR business partner needs to work closely with management and make the changes required.
  • Employer Branding - another essential role for the HRBP is to make sure the company’s culture is known and embraced by everyone within the organization. But it’s also about communicating it to the outside world since it’s one of the great tools managers can use for recruiting.

 

Portrait of an HR business partner

The HR Business Partner is a complex role; therefore, the person filling it has to develop and show a unique set of skills. Here are the seven most important ones:

  • Deep knowledge of the business
  • Expertise with digital tools
  • A sense of cultural awareness
  • People and project management skills
  • Strategic leadership and risk-taking
  • Outstanding communication skills
  • Effective in addressing change and empowering it.

The HR business partner should live in the business, breathe it daily and work with business leaders on various workforce challenges and strategies. Constant change is a certainty, and someone in this role of HRBP should be able to adapt and face the change.

We know the HRBP is not an easy role, and the person filling it will need all the help possible. LeaveBoard is the solution you need if you want to succeed as an HR Business Partner.

Our HR reporting software offers great insight into attendance, leave management, and HR analytics. You will be able to take fast, proactive action for the benefit of your organization as a whole. Stay up to date on your employment issues and this way, retaining top talent will be an easy task.

Digitalization is clearly essential for an HRBP - with LeaveBoard, a Cloud HR Management system, you will be able to focus on strategic matters. Our system automates all crucial HR procedures, from onboarding to time-off tracking, attendance, and smart reporting. Plus, LeaveBoard is extremely easy to set up because it runs in the cloud. No need to download any software. You can have all your essential HR data in one place!

 

HR business partner vs. HR manager

When discussing similarities, both are active in HR and have significant knowledge of the HR profession. People in both positions should have at least five years of experience in this field, if not more.

What are the differences?

An HR manager will be the head of the department, which means they have people working for them and have the primary responsibilities of enforcing procedures and policies throughout the company.

The HR business partner is free of any administrative tasks (in an ideal world). They are in charge of structuring, guiding, and communicating the organization’s strategy and collaborating with executive management and the HR department to improve said strategy.

The HRBP usually operates as a consultant or advisor and is focused on employee data and analytics, allowing strategic matters to be on top in their line of work.

They will build relationships and offer resources in departments throughout the organization.


Takeaway

We live in the digital age, which makes the role of the HRBP more strategic as every day goes by. The person in these shoes will need to learn continuously and keep on with the new developments with HR and within the business sector. It’s the key to helping your organization become more successful.

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