HRBP, HR, Human Resource, Organizational Development

Two-fifths of HR leaders do not believe their business partner colleagues are ready for future requirements of the role, a survey reveals

By Lucie Mitchell

Experts call for clear guidance on what skills HRBPs will need in the years to come and for greater development opportunities.

Almost two-fifths (43 percent) of senior HR leaders think HR business partners (HRBPs) are not currently prepared for the future requirements of their role, according to new research.

The report by Corporate Research Forum – based on interviews with senior HR professionals and an online survey of more than 200 employees in HR roles – found that 95 percent of respondents are currently using HRBPs.

But the role is changing significantly and will become an increasingly important part of the people function, the Corporate Research Forum said.

The capabilities that will be critical to successful HR business partnering in the future were also laid out in the study. It found that HRBPs consistently rated their own competency higher than HR leaders did in each of the capabilities, indicating a considerable disconnect between HRBPs’ perceptions of where they are, and where HR leaders believe HRBPs need to be going forward. 

Almost 90 percent of respondents agreed that adopting a strategic mindset would become even more critical over the next few years, with 42 percent of HRBPs stating they were highly competent in this area; yet just 12 percent of senior HR leaders felt this was true of their HRBPs.

Similarly, a fifth (22 percent) of HRBPs thought they were prepared for being digitally enabled and were highly competent in using and applying technology effectively, compared to 9 percent of senior HR leaders who believed this to be the case.

Gemma Dale, a senior lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University, said the world of work had seen important and unexpected changes in the last few years, including the introduction of “truly transformational technologies”, and that there was “much more to come” in this space.

“It is interesting that HR leaders, who are essentially responsible for the development and activity of HR business partners, are however seeing them as wanting,” she added. “In terms of addressing the gap, those HR leaders need to clearly articulate what the role of the HR business partner needs to be within their own organizations and provide the development activity needed to fill the gap.”

Debbie Mitchell, senior manager at LACE Partners, said that while there was clearly a need for a change in HR capabilities, she was concerned about the shift needed to enable that to happen. “It won’t happen simply by developing the skills of the HR business partners – although that is a key part,” she said. “Our HR partners are already stretched with the workload, so both the volume and focus of the work have to change to enable any real impact.”

These changes include “supercharging people management capability and digitalizing the employee experience”, added Mitchell. HRBPs must also embrace the change, as stepping out of their comfort zone into the more “challenging or unknown areas of their function, like data analytics or adopting a more strategic mindset”, can be difficult.

The research also highlighted the importance of commercial awareness, with 38 percent of HRBPs believing they were highly competent in this area, compared to 20 percent of HR leaders.

According to Tracey Hudson, executive director of The HR Dept: “One of the most critical skills an HR business partner needs is commercial understanding to truly support the business to achieve its aims. 

“HR business partners shouldn’t be dictated to by an HR process – they should be pragmatic and balance that with diplomacy and negotiation with every level of employee in the organization. Future HR business partners need to embrace technology and AI to become more effective and deliver a better service to their customers across the organization.”

Source: People Management

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *