How to become a HR Business Partner
Over the last few years Human Resource Business Partner roles have become much more common place within progressive businesses. This is largely due to more and more employers adopting the HR Business Partnering model. This model aims to align the central HR functions with the top and central levels of an organisations workforce infrastructure, including HR managers and directors.
Demand for HR Business Partner professionals has spiked recently. Mainly as it allows organisations who successfully adopt the model to make quicker business changes based on HR functions. Many companies look for a business partner to join the senior team to drive positive business change from a HR perspective.
The rise of agile working
Over the last decade, and with the rise of the 'digital start-up' companies, more and more organisations are choosing to adopt a more 'agile' working structure. Technically, agile working essentially compartmentalises an organisations employee structure, so that every team is self-managed and can react to quick changes. Whereas senior level decision making is led by an agile team of senior staff. With market demands always changing, companies with the right agile working structure can adapt quickly to meet these demands.
This ability to change alongside market demands provides companies with a distinct competitive edge. This has provided senior HR professionals with a new exciting opportunity to work in a contemporary fast paced environment. Traditionally, senior HR professionals would work in a static centralised HR department. Their role would centre heavily around defining company policies and facilitating the day to day HR functions.
Whereas today, companies can look to a HR Business Partner to support and work with different heads of departments. For example, with the finance director or management accountant to drive multi-disciplinary business change. If for example a company decides to change it's infrastructure to align with market demands, it would be the role of the business partner to work agilely to implement this new strategy, manage HR projects and typically lead the HR team.
No two HR business partner jobs are the same
The role and central responsibilities of a HR Business Partner can typically vary as they must align closely with an organisations specific infrastructure.
One organisation may require a candidate who possess specific skills in talent acquisition and management, often known as a Resourcing Business Partner. Whilst another may require a candidate with a strong background in business strategy and finance, known typically as a Finance Business Partner. It is therefore the role of the recruiter to gain a deep understanding of a candidate’s experience, skillset and aspirations to ensure a successful partnership.
What are the business needs of today?
A good business partner will constantly ask themselves 'what are the business needs of today?' and 'how can I facilitate them?' These two questions form the basis of almost any business partner role. Once a need has been identified, the business partner will then work closely with the right people to implement change and meet the demands of the business.
Peter Wilson, National President of the Australian Human Resources Institute says, "The business partner’s role is to put in place the policies and practices of the people of the organization that are aligned to the operational needs of the business or, if there’s a big strategic change, then the people management processes to move people from doing things one way to whatever the new form of implementation is.”
What are the main responsibilities of a HRBP role?
Even though many HR Business Partner jobs can differ, there are still a few general competencies that a candidate must possess. According to a study of over 100 HRBP job descriptions, there are around six essential skills. Those are:
Communication Business Acumen General HR Expertise Recruitment / Resource Expertise People Management Analytical / Computer Skills
Typically, a successful HRPB candidate will possess a degree level education in either Human Resources or a business-related subject. Accreditation can also typically be required, such as a CIPD recognised certificate in Human Resources or business.
Experience is vital in almost all HR Business Partner jobs, but depending on the company and its demands, the level of experience can often vary. Many companies look for an experienced HR Business Partner with around 4 years’ experience of working in a HR role and with supervisory or management experience seems to be the average.
However, reviewing a job description and list responsibilities is always the best way to determine whether you are capable of meeting the demands of the role.
The average career path of a HR Business Partner typically follows the same progression path.
Progression path: HR Business Partner - Senior HR Business Partner - Head HR Business Partner - HR Director - Chief Human Resources Officer. Chief Human Resources Officer is widely recognised as the highest possible HR position. This role will often require a HRPB to move to larger organisations to finally attain the position.
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