The advent of HR business partners



They ensure development of human resources is in alignment with business objectives

Over the last decade, many organisations have seen value in having HR business partners with the aim of finding business solutions that are more in alignment with organisational philosophy and frameworks.

The essential function of the HR business partner is to drive synergies across various HR functions, thereby ensuring that strategic as well as tactical aspects of a business are handled prudently.

The strategic aspect of a business involves the strategies and approaches adopted to achieve its goals. The tactical aspect involves the tools employed to achieve them.

As part of HR Business partnering, well-defined groups around HR operations are first formed. The thinking behind this exercise is that when the HR operations are managed effectively, there is then time and resource for the HR business partners to deal with core business challenges and find appropriate solutions to drive the human capital and business agenda in a unified manner. What is expected of a HR business partner:

• Understanding the business and financial model and being able to advise the leaders with business-appropriate HR solutions

• Identifying the key success indicators for the business and providing the right talent management strategy to drive these successes

• Understanding the skills and competencies that would complement business success and then drive the talent acquisition and learning portfolios

• Identifying key talent and mapping them to business-critical roles.

• Assessing the organisational risks that could jeopardise the company’s business success

• Designing organisational design and structures that deliver the business imperatives

• Understanding the organisational pulse and driving proactive change management initiatives/ programmes

To fulfil the above-demonstrated business focus, HR business partners must possess the following qualities.


The leaders who run the business want HR leaders who understand the business, know the pressures they face to deliver results, and can provide practical organisational solutions. They need to be the employees who can handle employee issues in a sensitive and confidential manner, thereby driving the organisational values of trust and confidence.

Solution orientation

HR leaders need to offer solutions to business problems by navigating through the various business perspectives and challenges. Business leaders appreciate thoughtful, sound, creative and well-thought-through solutions to problems, offered with a strong stakeholder commitment towards the organisation.

Listening skills

Everyone needs a sounding board — someone who can be trusted to provide impartial and confidential advice. The HR leader has to be the coach who enables managers and leaders to understand the business issue, challenge status quo and empower them to solve their business challenges. This quality makes the difference between a good and great HR business partner.

Agent of change

In an ever-changing business environment, business planning in the context of changes is primary for any organisation to succeed. The ability to change the strategy, business model, culture and introduce innovation is necessary to change the trajectory of the business. This requires making significant changes to the talent or organisational design in some or all parts of the organisation; and together with business leaders, the HR business partner should be an enabler of change .

(Harini Muralidharan is Senior Director – Human Resource Business Partner at Juniper Networks IEC.)


About the author

Loknath Das

Powered by