What exactly is HR Business Partner?

HR Business Partner

Many resumes these days of HR professionals have at least one mention of HR Business Partner; they term it as HRBP. I recently had a chance to interview a fairly senior HR person over the phone and he too mentioned his present role as HR Business Partner. I then asked him the following questions:

-> What is the role of HRBP?
->  Are you convinced that HR is truly a business partner?
->  How does HR add value as a business partner?
->  What does it call for to be an effective HRBP? 

Of course, I didn’t get satisfactory answers for some of these questions, but it kept me thinking and here I am sharing my thoughts on HRBP.

How is the HR function structured?

HR department is structured in many different ways depending upon the nature of the business and complexity of the organizations. In such organizations where they adopted HRBP concept, HR usually has a combination of center of excellence (COE) and Business Partner roles.

Center of Excellence is nothing but the centralized function that specializes in one specific area of HR. For example, there can be a center of excellence on Compensation & Benefits, Learning & Development, Performance Management & Organizational Development and so on. These teams focus on their area of specialization and usually are centralized for the entire organization.

On the other hand, HR Business Partner focuses on servicing the HR needs of a particular business unit of the organization.

What is the role of HRBP?

HRBP is expected to be the link between the business and the COE. They need to understand the changing business needs on the people front and constantly provide support. For example, depending upon the business plans, HRBP needs to arrive at a manpower plan, prepare a organizational structure that facilitates business functioning, communicate with employees and address their needs, facilitate goal setting across the business and so on.

Let us discuss some specific opportunities for HRBP to add value in business in our upcoming blog.

Article – “What exactly is HR Business Partner?”
By: Dr.Raj, 
Published in HR Mirror, Hans India.
Follow Dr.Raj on Twitter @drraj29

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