Having worked in Human Resources for the last 20 years, I can clearly see that businesses have changed what they are looking for from HR professionals and what is required to create business growth.
Too Much Fluff?
Many years ago it used to be OK to offer more of a personnel welfare approach looking after the employees and doing the best that you could within the framework of the legal system and your own in-house policies. Human Resources was seen as a group of warm and fluffy people who could be relied upon to support you with any issues that you may have had. From the business perspective, HR was often seen as a blocker to making the business move forward, always falling back on the policies to defend any decision that was made.
HR’s position couldn’t be sustained, as many areas of the business were called to account and were seen as a cost to the business (HR was one of them). The Human Resources function needed to show that it could be business-focused, and clearly understand the legal system, people issues (like hiring and firing) and manage risks so that employees were treated fairly and the business was able to grow.
Partnering The Business
HR is more about partnering the business, forecasting the needs, assessing the risk planning with the business areas to ensure that the people skills and resources are exactly where they need to be to be able to deliver the business function at the least cost achievable. By truly linking in with all areas of the business, HR can be a valuable resource to utilize.
The transition from personnel to human resources to HR business partner requires a different skill set if a business is to get the most from its HR function.
As a business partner you need to be able to understand the legal framework in which you operate. You need to understand the strategy of the business and how HR can support it, be confident, credible and commercially aware. Influencing skills are paramount as the HRBP won’t only be advising; it will be shaping the way forward for the business so it will need to be a key influencer who is empowered to make a difference.
Up For The Challenge?
It’s a big ask to move from purely HR to HRBP and some people don’t like the challenge, but for those who do it’s a rewarding move that will see the HRBP at the top of their game, influencing at the right levels and making a difference to people and organizations, and most importantly showing that they aren’t a cost to the business but a huge return on the investment made in a great HR function!
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