our team
Close this search box.

HR Business Partnering

We researched what drives great HR and worked out how to evaluate it.

This is a widely used term but hard to achieve in reality.  It isn’t a job title, it’s a role and an attitude – and a genuine curiosity and appetite for getting under the skin of what drives business success.

When Dave Ulrich coined the term a few decades ago, it was part of a complete rethink of how HR operate.  He suggested restructuring HR into:

  1. Centres of excellence;
  2. Shared services which would take on the operational, transactional work, and
  3. Business partners who would be ’embedded’ into their client groups and thus be far more well placed to provide what would best serve their stakeholders.

Achieving true partnering takes work - but it's the best route to ensuring HR deliver what the business needs

In some organisations, they just changed the job title to ‘HR Business Partner‘ and did little else to fulfil the potential of the role.  Some HRBPs took to this like a duck to water, and relished the proximity to their client groups and got stuck in as a member of their team.  Others found it more difficult, and this is likely to be as a result of their context – a lack of leadership of the partnering concept on both sides.

Once the commitment of business leaders is in place, and cascaded down the line, there is a good start point.  In practice, however, it takes some discussion and explanation of what it actually means.

The journey towards partnering takes time, and for the HRBP is achieved conversation by conversation

Business Partnering Matrix

Whether you’re a CHRO or an HRBP, you’ll recognise how you move between these modes.  The aim here is to illustrate how you can move towards top right:

  • Spend more time talking about the business (and not HR)
  • Spend more time talking about the future (and not the present).

These two simple dimensions simplify how a business partner can manage the conversation they are having.

Explore how we can support you with Business Partnering.

Upcoming workshops & webinars

How to increase your HRBPs’ impact in HR Business Partnering

How to be a business ally

Targeted coaching special offer

Latest resources

The Seven Enablers​

Click on the Enablers to find out more

Enable-HR Heptagram (c)

Organisations we’ve worked with