Elevating HR: The Evolution of HR as a Business Partner in Modern Organizations
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In this dynamic world, many businesses are enhancing or creating their human resources departments by partnering with an HR outsourcing provider. By doing this, they get a dedicated HR business partner, also known as an HRBP, who works with the employer both strategically and tactically.
An HR Business Partner acts as a strategic liaison between HR and the business. These senior HR professionals have a thorough understanding of how the model of a modern business works, and therefore they make sure that HR helps the business make an impact in whatever industry they belong to. The modern world has become extremely fast-paced, which is why the HR Business Partner functions are constantly evolving, driven by emerging trends in the modern workplace and changes in the job market.
What is a Human Resources Business Partner?
As said earlier, a Human Resources Business Partner (HRBP) acts as a roadway in connecting Human Resources with the business side of a company to achieve its goals. To simply define an HRBP, we could say that an HR Business Partner is an experienced HR professional who works directly with an organization’s senior leadership to develop and direct an HR agenda that supports organizational goals. Rather than working primarily as part of the Human Resources department of an organization, an HR Business Partner works closely with senior leadership, perhaps sitting on the board of directors or collaborating regularly with the organization’s senior executives.
HRBPs are usually found in larger organizations and may oversee many employees. Generally, the more employees they oversee, the more critical their role becomes, and the more strategic their decisions get. Since every organization is different, whether in terms of the number of employees, the culture, or their functions, the same is the case with HRBPs. Every Human Resources Business Partner has a different responsibility in the organization.
Benefits of Having a Human Resources Business Partner
An HR Business Partner is mainly a consultant who works in the human resources department and focuses on building relationships and providing resources to align with the overall business goals for achieving organizational success. Other than this, having an HRBP in an organization also serves other benefits as well, such as:
Strengthen Company Culture and Employee Experience
Generation Z is supposed to be the most difficult generation to deal with recently. Especially, when this generation is entering the workforce. The demands and wants of Generation Z are a lot different from millennials or other previous generations and for them, company culture and employee experience matter the most. Company culture and employee experience go hand in hand. If either of the one gets affected, the other is most likely to get affected too.
Human Resources Business Partners help enhance employee experience by providing guidance for onboarding, such as HR training and benefits orientation. They also provide guidance on the new benefit plan designs or even assist in the education of current offerings as needed. HRBPs also work closely with the HR team, and they try to assist them in their HR operations so that the employee experience can be enhanced right from the beginning.
The responsibilities and functions of an HR department are not subjected to just one task, the HR is responsible for creating an inclusive environment for an employee from the moment he joins the organization till he leaves it. Therefore, HR Business Partners provide a comprehensive review of all practices, documents, and operations, from the moment an employee is hired to his termination and everything in between.
The review of human resources policies and practices may include recommended changes or additions based on the current legislation. The HR business partners can also help in crafting and delivering training so that they can help your team to be better prepared to handle a sensitive issue. HRBPs help you face issues more proactively, and give you relevant suggestions that can help you avoid any problems in the future.
Stay Current with HR Compliance
Every organization has an employee handbook, where all the current HR policies and practices are written. Usually, the other HR professionals have so much on their plate that they don’t get time to update the handbook when needed. Here comes the use of HRBPs, who help in providing a review of your handbook to ensure all necessary policies are complete and up to date and provide protection by ensuring those policies are communicated to employees. They also assist HR professionals with law compliance policies and other policies, so that your organization can stay compliant with the legislative system.
Human Resources Business Partner Roles & Responsibilities
The future is a lot different than today, and therefore the role of a Human Resources Business Partner has to become more strategic in the future to help organizations increase their productivity, profitability, and competitiveness.
Prepare for the Future of Work
The business world keeps changing, and so do the methods to operate them efficiently. HRBPs face various challenges in the modern workplace, which is just the beginning. In the next few years, Artificial Intelligence is going to take over the world, and at that time the business world is going to become more complex to deal with. To future-proof an organization, an HRBP needs to address these issues:
Maintaining culture, engagement, and connection in distributed organizations
Helping leaders determine what kind of workplace condition would be suitable for their team, i.e., in-person, virtual, or hybrid
Determining the role of generative AI in HR and how it can be used to automate tasks and make the work done more efficiently and effectively. Today, many HR professionals are running lean due to the economy, so an HRBP has to find unique and creative ways to do more work with fewer resources.
Moreover, the modern workplace is completely digitalized. Even though some of the organizations have shifted to a digital workforce, yet, there are still many of them that are still operating physically.
A Coach & A Consultant
An HR Business Partner must understand how current and future challenges impact employees in their organization. This enables them to provide valuable advice and appropriate coaching techniques to the key stakeholders. It is also better to clarify that an HRBP’s role is just to serve as an advisor, and not to take over all responsibilities. Some of the most typical responsibilities may include:
- Conducting regular meetings with executives and the board of directors, offering HR advice whenever needed
- Staying updated on employment laws and regulations, so that they could provide guidance to ensure compliance
- Assisting in the development and implementation of HR processes and policies
Building a Competitive Organization
To stay competitive in the industry, HR Business Partners have to focus on:
- Assisting the business in strategizing, training, and adapting to create the best product or service.
- Guiding line managers on performance management, helping them navigate organizational and people-related issues.
- Optimizing the organizational structure to enhance productivity and performance.
- Ensuring that the organization can attract and retain top talent. They collaborate with other HR team members to implement innovative and inclusive recruitment strategies.
- Develop compensation and benefits plans that are future-proof, and implement reward and recognition programs that improve both financial results and employee engagement.
HR Business Partners must provide leaders with the resources, knowledge, and skills they need to effectively manage their teams. This ultimately results in a much stronger, and more autonomous management structure. The main focus is to create an environment where leaders are adequately equipped to handle most of the day-to-day workforce issues on their own. When HRBPs help leaders navigate the complexities of people management, it contributes to a strong organizational culture and also enhances organizational effectiveness.
Human Resources Business Partner Skills & Competencies
An HR Business Partner’s role is highly dynamic and strategic. They are required to think and plan strategies through proper communication with business leaders and HR managers. In addition to that, they also need certain skills to carry out all these functions flawlessly. Therefore, the major skills required in a Human Resources Business Partner role are powerful decision-making, sheer determination, and leadership. Some of the other skills and competencies of an HRBP include:
In an HR Business Partner’s role, digital skills play a huge role, and therefore they need to be skilled in data collection, analysis, and interpretation. With advancements in technology, HR tools have also become updated and overly advanced. Some of the most important digital tools that could be required by an HRBP are:
Collaboration tools: They aid HRBPs in training, hiring, and onboarding talent. These tools also allow non-verbal communication, making it easy for different HR teams to communicate effectively with HR professionals.
Developmental tools: They assist HRBPs in judging performance metrics, managing labor statistics, and other technical tasks like these.
Digital Analysis tools: They allow HRBPs to analyze the employee’s performance and efficiency.
Software Management tools: They allow HRBPs to efficiently manage their team. Since the majority of workers in the HR department work under an HR strategic business partner, to manage their tasks, proficiency with a digital human resources management tool is mandatory.
Business Acumen is not just about understanding financial principles, but also identifying risk, reward, and business outcomes related to it. Apart from this, we could also say that business acumen is a fusion of knowledge and skills gained from industry experience. Here, knowledge refers to the understanding of business and HR processes, and skills refers to tactics used to implement that knowledge into the business for the best outcome possible.
The key role of a Human Resources Business Partner is to advocate for the organization in its support. This process also involves the advocacy of employees working in that organization. Advocating for their employees and balancing their needs with organizational objectives is a priority for every HR professional. Organizations cannot survive or succeed without treating their employees fairly and rewarding them for their good work.
If employees are treated fairly and are properly taken care of, they tend to work at their full capacity, which ultimately generates more leads for a business. So, an HRBP must evaluate whether the employees are being treated well or not. The way the employees are treated has a direct impact on strategic planning and organizational productivity, which is why advocacy is considered an important skill for HRBPs.
This skill refers to the ability to use technology for an organization to enhance work efficiency and drive more leads. In simpler terms we could also say, to integrate or combine two skills together to yield better results.
However, everything has its own pros and cons. Even though using integration skills can result in better conclusions, but this must be done with keen care, because even a slight mistake in choosing the wrong tech tool can hinder the worker’s productivity by increasing workload. This type of situation may also lead to employee frustration, which is truly a major loss for an organization.
Despite the drawback, professional integration skills are mandatory for every HR Business Partner, because through that they increase work efficiency, thus driving more leads to an organization.
Human Resources Business Partner Metrics
Everything in the business world works on results. Those results could be based on percentages, ratios, numbers, leads, rates, and other quantifiable metrics.
Before analyzing the metrics, HR Business Partners have to set SMART Goals that enable them to prioritize their tasks, track progress, and drive success in the HR function. These goals should be tailored to the specific needs and objectives of the organization, as well as the HR Business Partner’s role and responsibilities. Some of the HR Business Partner metrics examples include:
Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS)
HRBPs can measure employee engagement using an employee net promoter score (eNPS) survey. It provides insights into employees’ satisfaction levels, and whether they would recommend their organization as a good place to work or not.
The survey question is quite simple, “How likely are you to recommend our company as a place to work?” The candidate has to respond on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being the least likely and 10 being very likely. The scores are categorized as follows:
0-6: Detractors – Employees who feel negative and are least likely to promote the organization.
7-8: Passives – Employees who are neutral and neither promote nor discourage the organization.
9-10: Promoters – Employees who enthusiastically promote the organization as a workplace.
To calculate the eNPS score, you need to subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters.
Employee Retention Rates
HRBPs’ roles directly impact employee retention rates. High retention rates indicate their efforts are successful, but low rates are a negative sign which may require a strategy review. Therefore, retention rates can be used to assess the effectiveness of HR Business Partners.
Employee retention rate is a quite common metric used in modern workplaces. The employee retention rate shows the percentage of employees who stayed with the company for a certain period, usually a year. It helps organizations understand how long employees stay and when they tend to leave.
The formula for retention rate is to subtract the number of employees who left the company from the total employee count, then divide that by the total employee count and multiply by 100.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Metrics
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) metrics are a way to measure how effective HRBPs are in promoting fairness and equity in the workplace. These metrics help the HR department improve diversity and inclusion initiatives by identifying areas of improvement.
When trying to measure DEIB, some factors need to be considered, such as the representation of different groups and pay equity. For the representation of women, LGBTQ+, employees with disabilities, etc. you can use the formula:
(Number of employees in category / Total number of employees) x 100
Then you can compare this to the representation of that group within the general population.
To calculate the pay gap between men and women, you can use the formula:
((Average hourly rate for men – Average hourly rate for women) / Average hourly rate for men) x 100
Having a diverse representation and a small pay gap indicates that the company values DEIB and adds value to the organization.
The scope for a Human Resources Business Partner is very bright in the future, because organizations are gradually realizing the need to focus on their employees and work for their benefit too.
Other than that, the estimated average salary of a Human Resources Business Partner in the United States is $78,931 per year, with the typical range falling between $59,000 and $108,000. The salary criteria entirely depend on years of work experience, education, certifications, industry, and additional skills.
An HR Business Partner must continuously learn and keep updating themselves with new developments in HR and within the business sector. By doing so, HRBPs can help their organizations become more successful in the industry.