HR Business Partner: Definition, Duties, Responsibilities and the Future Outlook 

HR Business Partner is becoming one of the most important HR functions in the workplace. Find out how HRBPs are helping their companies thrive.

April 17, 2020 By Sara Ana Cemazar Share on Twitter! Share on Facebook! Share on LinkedIn!
HR Business Partner
HRBP

HR Business Partner is a role we often see as one of top HR functions within companies. According to LinkedIn, there are more than a million professionals currently working in this role worldwide. 

As HR started being recognized as one of the departments that is crucial for business success, HR Business Partners became sought-after specialists. In this article, you will find out how HR Business Partners help their companies thrive, why their function will be more important in the future, and what to look for in individuals you want to employ in this role. 

✔️ Check out what questions do employees ask themselves when evaluating their experience with their current employer.

employee-experience-questions

What is an HR Business Partner 

Although HR Business Partner (HRBP) is a senior position within Human Resources department, a person in this role cooperates very closely with their company’s leadership. HR Business Partner is responsible for using HR capabilities to support organizational goals. In other words, this HR professional develops and manages an HR agenda to support the company’s business objectives. 

More specifically, this means that an HR Business Partner should have strong business knowledge, comprehensive understanding of HR, and specific experience within the company’s business sector. 

HRBP areas of knowledge

In summary, HR Business Partner is a role that is more strategic than other HR functions, and professionals in this role do not focus on compliance or administration. 

What Skills Should an HR Business Partner Possess 

In order to be successful, HR Business Partner should possess certain skills. As mentioned before, the prerequisite for this role is having knowledge of three areas – business, company’s business sector, and deep understanding of HR. 

Here, we will list some skills found among thriving HR Business Partners. 

1. Sales mindset 

Apart from their knowledge of how business works – HR Business Partners need to have a sales mindset. They must be able to sell their proposals to seasoned employees and C-level executives. 

Furthermore, as professionals in this role often deal with talent growth and management, they need to be able to sell their organization to candidates they want to attract. 

Often, an HR Business Partner’s success depends on their ability to persuade key stakeholders that their idea is worth pursuing. 

2. Results-driven 

This important skill goes hand-in-hand with sales mindset. HR Business partners need to be results-oriented in order to successfully plan and execute strategies of company’s business interest. 

For example, if your company is looking to increase profitability, HRBP might suggest implementing an employee recognition program that boosts profitability through certain mechanisms that increase employee engagement. 

employee engagement impact

3. Project Management 

Since HR Business Partners are expected to propose and manage initiatives related to HR that will result in accomplishing company-wide goals, it is not surprising that they are expected to possess some project management skills. 

In other words, your HR Business Partner will thrive if the person in this role can manage teams and time, think critically and lead projects effectively. 

4. Organization 

Organizational skills such as time management and self-discipline are crucial for a successful HR Business Partner. To achieve the optimal outcome of a proposed initiative, one needs to carefully schedule and timely execute the steps of a plan. 

Also, organizational skills will help coordinate different personas needed for taking certain actions. 

5. Communication  

The importance of good communication skills cannot be undermined for any role in HR, and especially for HR Business Partner. As human resources are a “people” department, HR professionals need to be good listeners, communicators and presenters. 

An HR Business Partner symbolizes a bridge between the organization and its employees. Therefore, professionals in this role should be able to convincingly persuade and negotiate with both C-level executives and employees, as well as successfully coordinate different key players’ actions to avoid lack of alignment in a team. 

HRBP communication

Not to mention – HR Business Partners should be excellent presenters and be able to get their message across written, visual and verbal channels. This goes to show how far fetching their sales skills should be! 

6. Strategic thinking 

Strategic thinking is of utmost importance to an HR Business Partner. As these professionals either sit on Board of Directors or are in touch with C-level officials in some other way, they are co-creating decisions that shape up the company’s business success. 

Since their expertise is in the HR area, HR Business Partners are often responsible for pushing the idea that business success starts with people to their superiors.  

For example, employee recognition can boost employee engagement, drive employee retention, and improve employee experience, thus saving company resources. Therefore, a clear example of strategic thinking would be HR Business Partner’s initiative to implement an Employee Recognition Program. 

✔️ Look at which steps to follow in order to introduce employee recognition program in your company. 

employee recognition playbook

7. Leadership 

An HR Business Partner is be in charge of comprehensive projects that include a lot of people, from C-level executives and managers to the rest of the workforce. This means that you need someone that can lead by example and eliminate the main reasons for disengagement. 

Besides, who can better drive engagement at work than a highly motivated HR executive? 

employee engagement effect

Duties and Responsibilities of an HR Business Partner 

As we already discussed, the main purpose of an HR Business Partner’s job is to use HR capabilities to accomplish company-wide goals. As these goals vary, so can the duties and responsibilities of an HR Business Partner. 

Thus, these are the main job responsibilities of an HR Business Partner. 

Strategic planning 

The first thing on the list of HR Business Partner’s duties is strategic planning. Here is where tracking different HR analytics comes into play – knowing the relevant data is key to having a sense of your employee engagement, employee satisfaction or employee retention 

Knowing such data, it becomes easier to define measures of improvement in a certain area. Furthermore, experience in doing extensive research enables HR Business Partners to create and implement strategies around business improvement. 

✔️ If you’re an HRBP looking for a tool that can help your employees thrive, thus improving business results, take a look at JobPts, our Recognition and Rewards platform. 

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Try out our Recognition and Rewards Platform.


Coaching executives about HR issues 

As we discussed previously, HR Business Partner represents a bridge between the executives and rest of the employees. ConsequentlyHRBP often coaches higher-ups on HR issues and emphasizes why and how HR can assist the company in reaching its goals. 

HRBP coaching


Driving HR initiatives 

One of the main responsibilities HR Business Partner carries out is driving HR initiatives. For example, company’s goal might be to retain more customers. Knowing that companies that implemented a recognition program noticed increase in their customer satisfaction, HR Business Partner may suggest implementing an Employee Recognition Program. 

Since employee recognition program has multiple benefits but is a comprehensive undertaking, HR Business Partner is usually the one that drives and oversees the implementation of this initiative. 

Developing HR 

Similar to the previous example, HR Business Partner will suggest initiatives to develop the functioning of the HR department. 

For example, HR Business Partner could suggest more regular surveys to check the workforce’s pulse, or driving a continuous feedback practice that would complement regular employee evaluations. 

✔️ You can use these 5 editable employee evaluation forms to assess your employee’s performance. 

Finding and evaluating the best HR Tech 

Since HR is a highly analytical field, HR Business Partners are often tasked with finding the proper tech to advance a certain function or instill a new habit among employees. 

Depending on what the company’s goal is, an HR Business Partner might propose implementing a Recognition and Rewards Platform, Employee Communications Software, Employee Wellbeing solution.. The possibilities are endless, and HR Business Partners must carefully evaluate which solution would fit their company’s needs best. 

✔️ Find out which steps to follow in choosing the right recognition software for your organization, and check out our Employee Success Suite to find a solution for your company. 

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Try out our all-in-one employee experience suite.

HR Business Partner Salaries 

As one would suppose, salaries of HR Business Partners vary depending on a couple of factors. One of them is previous experience – certainly, aHR Business Partner with a proven success record can negotiate a higher salary than a relative beginner in this area.  

Another factor are the actual responsibilities of an HR Business Partner: they vary across companies and industries, so this role can be more or less demanding. 

Finally, the most prominent factor in determining an HR Business Partner’s salary is geographical location. As expected, the average HR Business Partners’ salary is the highest in the US.

According to Glassdoor, an HR Business Partner’s compensation ranges from $64K to $125K in the US. Average base pay is $71K for professionals with less than 1 years of experience in this role, while experts with more than 15 years of experience earn $104K on average. 

You can see how much HR Business Partners earn in several other countries below.

HRBP salary

HR Business Partner: The Future Outlook 

As HR functions continue to develop, and HR is recognized as one of the main departments driving business success, HR Business Partner role is growing popular. 

According to PWC, the average ratio of HR Business Partners to employees in companies of all sizes is 1:1016. However, we already see companies having one HRBP per 250 employees such as in Royal Bank of Scotland – a favorable trend that will probably catch on as HR Business Partner Models shows great efficiency. 

HRBP ratio

In the future, the role of HRBP as a connector between executives, HR, line management and employees will intensify. As an example, we see more and more HR Business Partners implementing various employee recognition ideas – because this has proven to be a successful way to improve company’s business results. 

HR Business Partners are a natural choice when it comes to talent growth or change initiatives. That’s why we expect to see more of them taking charge of HR initiatives concerning starting employee appreciation programs or inciting better employee feedback practices. As a result, this will create more interest in HR Tech that can help organizations accomplish their goals. 


HR Business Partner Job Description 

In case you’re looking for an HR Business Partner to join your organization, feel free to use this job description and adjust it to your company’s information and objectives. 

Human Resources Business Partner  

[Company name] is looking for an HR Business Partner that will align business objectives with management and employees in certain operational units. An HRBP will serve as a consultant on HR-related issues to the management, as well as a change agent. 

HRBP needs to assess and forecast HR-related needs and proactively communicate with business management and HR department. Often, HRBP will need to develop an/or seek for integrated solutions. Overall, a successful HRBP will form partnerships across the company to deliver value-added service to management and employees that reflect the [company name]’s business goals.

Main responsibilities 

  • Consulting executives on HR needs 
  • Proposing HR initiatives in line with business objectives to the Board of Directors 
  • Providing support to HR thought partnership 
  • Providing or suggesting coaching to groups of employees or individual employees 
  • Facilitating organizational design and development 
  • Managing leadership coaching and team building that support growth and change in line with business objectives 
  • Proactively assessing team and manager development needs, recommend and implement relevant solutions 
  • Performing data analysis and reporting solutions based on business needs 
  • Implementing talent management strategies  
  • Implementing employee engagement strategy 
  • Integrating with coworkers in other departments to help scale the business 
  • Partnering with regional HR partners on global strategy  
  • Working closely with the rest of the HR community as an integral member 

Competencies  

  • 5+ years’ experience in an HR-related function 
  • Problem solving skills 
  • Project management 
  • Performance management 
  • Data driven 
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills 
  • Business knowledge 
  • Knowledge of [company name]’s business area 

 Preferred Education and Experience  

  • Bachelor’s degree required  
  • Advanced degree in Human Resources Management, Organization Development or Business will be considered an advantage 

Additional Qualifications  

  • SHRM Certification or similar