Who Is the HR Business Partner, and What Do They Do?

An HR business partner meeting with another employee

A successful company needs an HR business partner (HRBP) – a human resources professional to help align the organization’s business strategy with its people strategy. The function of the HRBP is to provide operational advice on strategic initiatives and support the different functional groups within the company while doing professional-level HR duties. 

This article will explore what an HR business partner is and their roles and responsibilities. 


What Is An HR Business Partner?

An HR business partner is an experienced HR professional whose roles and responsibilities include ensuring that the company’s HR policies are aligned with the overall goals and strategies of the business. But, unlike other HR positions, an HRBP works directly with senior management instead of sitting within the company’s internal HR department. An HR business partner is often a member of the board of directors and collaborates with the company’s C-level executives. 


What Does An HR Business Partner Do?

As an HR professional, an HRBP handles a wide variety of duties, including hiring, benefits and compliance, and employee relations. They also help bridge the gap between the business and the employees. In essence, an HR business partner is responsible for the following:

  • Hire and retain top talents
  • Help improve productivity and employee engagement
  • Ensure that the business is compliant and minimizes legal risks
  • Help the company achieve its overall business objectives

The HR business partner is also responsible for developing and implementing HR programs. In addition, the HRBP works closely with the company’s department heads and executives to identify challenges and provide actionable strategies.


Differences Between HR Manager and HRBP

The roles of an HR manager and an HR business partner are different. An HR business partner primarily works with senior management to guide and improve the company’s overall HR strategy. Often, an HRBP advises on new HR policies and procedures. They also work with HR departments to implement strategy.

Meanwhile, an HR manager is usually tasked with leading the company’s internal HR team. They supervise the HR team, which consists of coordinators, assistants, and HR generalists. As an HR manager, you are responsible for establishing HR procedures and ensuring everyone follows them. HR managers focus on operational and administrative tasks, including recruitment, employee onboarding, payroll, and system administration. 


HR Business Partner Job Description

An HR business partner is expected to have a high level of understanding of the company’s economic condition, culture, mid-term strategies, and competition. The HR business partner’s job description typically includes the following:

  • Hold regular meetings with the human resources team to analyze data and design solutions accordingly.
  • Collaborating with senior leadership to provide expert advice and handle complex problems with employee relations. 
  • Conducting efficient and impartial investigations and addressing training requirements for personal leadership development. 
  • Have a thorough understanding of legal obligations and eliminate potential liability.
  • Offer clarifications and counseling to reorganize workforce management, corporate units, and long-term planning.
  • Evaluate and monitor the effectiveness of the company’s education and training programs.


What Are the Responsibilities of the HR Business Partner?

Focused on the big picture, the HR business partner has a strategic role in the organization. Rather than looking at the details, an HRBP looks at the overall goals and how to create HR policies that benefit everyone. As such, they take on various roles and responsibilities, including:

  • Working with upper management to identify the organization’s current HR needs.
  • Implement the goals set by the senior leadership by working with internal HR and recruitment teams.
  • Create strategies to improve relationships between management and employees.
  • Monitor the HR department’s budget to allocate funds accordingly.
  • Know the current HR trends and have a strong understanding of laws and regulations.


How Can Companies Benefit From Having An HRBP?

A company with a dedicated HR business partner gets support for implementing and communicating various HR policies, procedures, standards, laws, and government regulations. They also work as a consultant that ensures the company’s human resources align with business goals for growth and transformation. An HRBP is also beneficial in strengthening the company’s culture and employee experience. 


How To Become An HR Business Partner

To become an HR business partner, you need at least a bachelor’s degree in an HR-related field – as most current HRBP’s do. You need a degree encompassing coursework like accounting, business management, psychology, industrial relations, and other disciplines that an HR business partner should know. 


HR Business Partner Skills And Knowledge

As an HR business partner, you must have specific skills to be effective. These include data literacy, digital agility, business acumen, and people advocacy. You must also be skilled in data collection, interpretation, and analysis. You need business acumen to understand the principles of finance, risk, reward, and business outcomes. 

An HRBP is also expected to be digitally literate and to know how to balance business objectives while advocating for employees. 


How Can Kilpatrick Help Your Company Finding An HR Business Partner And Bringing Advantages to your HR Department?

Need help finding a suitable HR business partner for your organization? Kilpatrick Executive has an experienced team that can help you find prospective HRBP candidates and provide you with the best HR solutions. Contact us and talk to one of our professional consultants to discuss your needs.