What is Business Partner?
An experienced human resources professional who works directly with an organization’s leadership to develop and direct the strategic HR agenda in support of organizational goals. Business partner definition
This HR business partner concept is important. This is because it helps to understand that instead of working primarily as part of the internal human resources department, the HR business partner works closely with senior leadership. This can be done in conjunction with the board of directors or in regular collaboration with company directors and other executives. In other words, the business partner combines the business strategy with the people management strategy.
Placing a human resources professional in close contact with executive leadership makes HR a key part of organizational strategy. Not coincidentally, the business partner model for human resources is becoming increasingly popular among companies, in parallel with the new demand for Business Intelligence.
What does the HR Business Partner do in practice?
In practice, the business partner makes the bridge between people management and the company’s results happen. In this way, it allows the two to walk in parallel. But what exactly does that mean? Business partner definition
Let’s look at some practical examples.
- Let’s say a Business Partner works in the sales area, collaborating directly with the commercial director:
In this hypothetical scenario, the company in question is simply not meeting the projected sales result for that year. This despite having hired more sales executives and investing in training programs. Where is the problem?
Would the hired professionals be unqualified? Or do they need more time to hit the targets set? Are the professionals with the longest tenure performing at the height? Are the courses offered by the company fulfilling their objective? Or is there another learning gap needed to drive sales?
- In another example, let’s say there is a problem with the fulfillment area leadership .
Employee performance is low, turnover is very high and the team’s assessment of managers plummets every quarter.
In this case, the business partner will investigate whether:
- There are communication failures
- The proportion between the number of employees for each manager is adequate or is it beyond the recommended
- These managers need more training
- The expected level of delivery is consistent with the seniority level of the team or if the professionals are too junior
As you can see, it is difficult to imagine the business partner’s performance without concrete information. The business partner needs access to data such as productivity indicators and other HR metrics to reach conclusions about how human resources should be better distributed. There is no business partner without People Analytics.
What are the competencies of an HR Business Partner?
Traditionally, the Business Partner HR is a professional with a very generalist profile . More than a specialization and a complete mastery of a certain area of HR, such as recruitment or compensation and benefits, this professional has a comprehensive and systemic view of the organization. Business partner definition
The professional who works in this area must also understand finance, people and working together with other areas of the company. Some soft skills are important to support and advise strategic and operational decision making.
Below, we list the main competencies and skills required of an HR business partner.
1) Understand administration and finance
As you can see, the role of the HR business partner goes far beyond HR management. It also involves various financial aspects of the business.
Although increasing the efficiency of teams is directly related to the company’s profitability, there are many other aspects of its performance that are not limited to objectives in terms of direct profit.
Therefore, in order to obtain a deep knowledge of the business, it is essential that the professional has notions of financial management and administration.
2) Have experience with People Management
The strategic planning developed by the HR business partner must always take into account the needs and demands of employees. Despite working with the company’s leadership, this professional should never fail to exercise his active voice with the employees. For this, it is important to know the organizational culture .
Therefore, it is recommended that this professional already has extensive experience leading teams. In addition, it is necessary to have a sensitivity to the management of people within an organization. Understanding the particular routines and tasks of the Human Resources sector is also essential. Business partner definition
3) Master resources and tools
Another necessary differential for those who want to work in this area is to master the resources traditionally used for the strategic planning of an organization.
We can mention some key planning points that the professional must master:
- Organizational development;
- Recruitment and selection indicators;
- Training of employees and leadership;
- Performance evaluation methodologies;
- Level of satisfaction, individual and collective.
4) Have a strategic vision
The ability to develop efficient plans, with a comprehensive view and a clear understanding of the company’s objectives, is the main competence expected of a business partner. Business partner definition
This professional must not only have a strategic view, but also know how to define the short, medium and long term steps, anticipating possible failures and correcting the course when necessary. The prioritization skill is also paramount.
5) Know how to communicate
Professionals in the role of HR business partner must know how to persuade and negotiate with high-level leaders or collaborators. In addition, it is important to coordinate actions to promote alignment among the entire team. In this process, they need to influence people and build relationships. Therefore, the ability to communicate effectively is essential.
An HR business partner and an HR manager are two distinct roles and represent different models of conducting human resources services within an organization.
The HR manager’s job focuses on the development of policies and compliance with the company’s procedures. This professional is responsible for ensuring payroll processing, recruitment and hiring processes, training and development program oversight, personnel administration and labor and union relations, and much more. In short, the HR manager oversees the HR department.
The HR business partner , on the other hand, has no administrative responsibilities over this department. His main role is to work directly with the company’s senior leadership team and the managers of other departments. The main objective of the HR business partner is to guide and align the company’s overall strategy for its employees.
HR business partners collaborate with HR professionals as they consult with the executive team on issues relating to the management of the company’s human capital. They are often the starting point for developing HR initiatives and strategies that affect the entire organization.
This question may even seem strange. That’s because obviously no HR software will ever be able to do the work of a business partner. However, it is often deemed necessary to hire a professional to develop strategic work. However, sometimes what the company needs is better to automate the operational side of the business.
It does not always make sense to hire a Business Partner when HR software can optimize the work of this department and even provide the data and information that this professional will need to act on the strategic front of the company.
Both options have their pros and cons. Therefore, it is important to analyze both so that you can choose. We detail below some scenarios that help to identify the real needs of a company.
When an HR Business Partner Makes Sense
The HR business partner will be vital if your company is dealing with any of the following four situations:
- The company has a large number of workers. When there is a large workforce, the risk of eventual inefficiencies in the production chain is much greater. It is often necessary to boost production capacity. An HR business partner can delve deep into your company’s human capital analysis and find new ways of structuring work.
- The company is stagnant and needs to grow. Maybe it’s not a big company yet, but it wants to get there and can’t find the way. If the number of employees or sales has been down for a long time and performance reviews do not indicate performance failures that justify the situation, the problem may be deeper. This is the ideal time to bring in a business partner to analyze whether a new HR strategy could help overcome this paralysis.
- The HR department is completely disconnected from the business side. Is the HR department mired in administrative procedures? That way it’s easy to lose sight of the business side. If the department already has a computerized system to streamline these day-to-day tasks and the team still cannot act beyond the tactical level, perhaps an HR business partner can help improve results.
- The HR manager feels lost. In the case of small companies, the person in charge of people management often does not have solid training or experience in the area. This makes it difficult to implement a good HR strategy. If this manager feels lost as to how best to manage his employees, hiring a business partner can help define the path to be followed.
When to use HR software
Now, if your company does not fit into the situations mentioned above, but is still facing difficulties in managing people, the solution may be much simpler. If any of the following apply, it might be time to start using some HR software:
- Your team is relatively small. If your company is small, doing extensive planning of the activities of all employees and fully assuming the salary of an experienced business partner is not ideal. Also, if your growth is relatively moderate, it is probably best to acquire HR software and structure processes in-house.
- The company is growing very fast. When the company grows significantly, many processes can become obsolete and not meet the new demand. In these cases, HR software will help to centralize all information and organize department procedures.
- The company needs to digitize itself. If your company still survives on paper documents, it’s high time to digitize your operations. Digital HR has arrived and is here to stay. While the business partner can contribute a lot to the digitization strategy, it is important that they focus on other, more strategic tasks. For this, HR software can always handle the digitization.
- You or another company leader already has HR experience. Do you have HR experience? Do you have confidence in your ability to plan strategic actions? Do you know the business culture? If so, probably HR software will help you go further. In early stages of the company or within certain parameters of company size, keeping strategic people management decisions within the company’s leadership has numerous benefits.
Human Resources digital tool
Factorial’s HR software allows you to automate processes and make your human resources department more strategic. This is because it helps to reduce the time spent on administrative tasks. That way, more hours are left for planning and executing more important tasks. With the software, the HR team can:
- Manage vacations, absences and sick leaves for all employees.
- Provide a calendar with information for each team
- Organize online and face-to-face training.
- Communicate company events and announcements
- Conduct and monitor performance reviews
- Send and sign documents online
- Enabling recruitment and selection processes on the platform itself
- Carry out the online onboarding process