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What is an HR business partner?

What does an HR business partner do?

HR business partner vs. HR manager

HR business partner vs. HR director

What is an HR business partner

An HR business partner (HRBP) is an experienced human resources professional that works with an organization’s executive team to develop and direct HR objectives, contributing to the overall business strategy. 

An HR business partner works closely with senior leadership and plays a key role in the organizational HR strategy. Human resource management on a senior level is becoming increasingly popular in the modern working world, helping businesses adjust to the new world of working. 

What is an HR business partner?

A human resources business partner works directly with senior leadership to develop and direct HR procedures and methods that improve the organization’s productivity and performance.

Instead of working solely with the internal human resources department, an HR business partner may sit on the board of directors or collaborate with the C-suite. 

HR managers are expected to take on a strategic role and are trusted to showcase the following skills;

  • Efficiency with digital tools and software such as human resources information systems
  • Cross-cultural competence for global teams
  • Deep knowledge and understanding of the business
  • Project management and people management skills
  • Ability to align business objectives with meaningful change and transformation
  • Excellent networking skills and relationship-building acumen
  • Ability to identify and develop leaders within a team
  • Effective communication skills 
  • Maintain confidentiality
  • Excellent decision-making skills that contribute to the overall organizational strategy

What is a business partner?

To be a business partner, an individual serves as a commercial entity that has an alliance with the company. The contractual, exclusive bond acts as a commercial alliance. Business partners work together to conduct strategic planning and achieve business goals. 

A strategic business partner works with other business leaders to shape the future of the organization. A strategic partner offers their thoughts and opinions on business issues, offering recommendations and insights for overall business success.

The role of the HR business partner demands that they have a deep understanding of all departments, and how they are implicated in HR practices.

What does an HR business partner do?

An HR business partner operates at a higher level than standard HR professionals. 

Generally, the HR department governs the hiring and onboarding process. An HR generalist focuses on day-to-day employee wellness and talent acquisition. 

In contrast, the HR business partner role involves higher-level functions, working closely with business managers and other members of the leadership team.

The job description of an HR director extends beyond people management to include:

  • Offering insight on HR policies 
  • Outlining details of the benefits of packaging and retention initiatives
  • Ensuring the HR strategy fits into the organization’s overall business strategy
  • Serving as a consultant working in a human resources capacity
  • Build relationships and provide resources across departments, contributing to the overall business strategy
  • Collaborating with key stakeholders to discuss employee-centric challenges
  • Provide guidance on employee practices, including restructuring teams and succession planning
  • Influencing people around the business and building relationships
  • Coaching and providing feedback to leadership to improve business efficiency

HR business partner vs. HR manager

An HR business partner is not to be confused with an HR manager. The two positions are separate roles and follow different methods of conducting HR services within the business. 

The HR manager oversees the HR department and focuses on policy and procedure. Typical responsibilities include processing payroll, recruitment, and system administration. When these tasks are properly executed, then it improves employee relations and boosts employee retention.

In contrast, an HR business partner doesn’t have administrative responsibilities over a department. Instead, their efforts are focused on collaborating with senior leadership and department managers to create a smooth organization. 

HR business partners and HR managers work together on strategic responsibilities, with the HR business partner serving as an expert link between the HR department and the executive team.  

HR business partner vs. HR director

While an HR director is regarded as an executive position, the role differs from an HR business partner. While an HR director also holds a strategic position, their primary focus is creating and enforcing HR policies and programs, while an HR business partner offers insight and guidance on these policies.

The HR director has a more hands-on role in the business. For example, they constantly review HR practices, ensure compliance, and identify opportunities to increase productivity and contain costs.

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