Hiring an HR Business Partner


If you haven’t already considered it, the HR business partner model can give your organisation new capabilities that could make a world of difference when it comes to your processes.

This can be useful for a growing enterprise looking to ensure that correct human resources and operational policies are in place for future development. It can also be valuable for more established organisations wanting to align employee activity with business goals.

In this post we’re going to look at approaches to HR business support and then move on to the HR business partner model and discuss the qualities to look for in a human resources business partner.

Setting HR Policies for Small Businesses

When approaching HR for your business, there are a number of models to consider:

  • Handling all human resources functions yourself, which may only be viable for a short period of time, because this can rapidly turn into a time-consuming task.
  • Hiring employees to create a traditional HR department within your company, which would integrate this function completely.
  • Relying on HR support services catering for small businesses, which would allow you to only draw on support when you need it.
  • Using external HR business consulting services, which would involve hiring individual experts to provide structures and policies for your company.
  • Choosing HR software designed for small businesses, which would go some way towards automating your processes and can be used in conjunction with other services.

All of these, either individually or in combination, could work towards handling the interviewing, orientation, training and administration tasks required by your business. But what if you need more? This is where the HR business partner model comes in.

What is an HR Business Partner? 

Generally speaking, an HR business partner is a senior professional who has experience in traditional human resources functions, but is focused less on administration and more on areas such as:

  • Developing overall company policies;
  • Setting business objectives;
  • Handling complex employee relations issues;
  • Providing restructuring guidance;
  • Advising on benefits and compensation.

It is important to note that the above list isn’t exhaustive. An HR business partner’s role is highly dependent on context. In fact, a good HR business partner should be able to adapt to the needs of your company. But what makes for a good HR business partner? As this is a complex role, there are a variety of qualities to consider.

HR Business Partner Qualities

The characteristics which could set a potential HR business apart include:

A high level of experience is perhaps the prime consideration when it comes to finding the right HR business partner. After all, this is a position that generally sits above the roles of HR coordinator, manager and director – although these may not necessarily be subordinate. So, exposure to different positions within the HR function should be regarded as mandatory. General business experience is also highly desirable, as an HR business partner is expected to contribute towards company goals.

Business Acumen
Even if a potential HR business partner doesn’t have vast experience outside of the human resources specialism, it is still crucial that this individual is able to display a high degree of business acumen. Ideally, this should be demonstrated through previous projects which have reached or exceeded targets. However, this is a facet that could be tested in the interview process.

Communication Skills
As this is a role that would involve collaboration with different departments and individuals within a company, an HR business partner should possess excellent internal communication abilities. This encompasses receptive skills, in that problems and challenges need to be understood, and expressive skills, as solutions should be conveyed effectively.

Organisational Ability
An HR business partner is relied on to improve processes within a company. As such, this is a position that demands exceptional organisational ability. HR business managers should also be able to manage their own processes too, as there is a danger they could be swamped when demand for their time arises from multiple departments.

Leadership Qualities
This final characteristic is the one that will lead an HR business partner to become a trusted member of the team, called on time and time again to help employees reach their full potential. It is also the characteristic which is perhaps the most difficult to define, as there are as many different leadership styles as there are leaders. The important thing is that the potential HR business partner can demonstrate past leadership success.

Selecting an HR Business Partner

If you believe that your organisation is at a stage where it could benefit from an HR business partner, it could be worth searching online for HR business partner resume samples. This will give you a good idea of the calibre of candidate you could expect to hire and help you in wording your job specification.

You could either hire externally or promote internally, a route which would ensure that you know whether a candidate fulfils the criteria discussed above. Either way, an HR business partner could prove to be a useful asset to your business and help you on the road to the future.

Image courtesy of iStock

Whilst care has been taken in the production of this article and the information contained within it has been obtained from sources that Aon UK Limited believes to be reliable, Aon UK Limited does not warrant, represent or guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or fitness for any purpose of the article or any part of it and can accept no liability for any loss incurred in any way whatsoever by any person who may rely on it. In any case any recipient shall be entirely responsible for the use to which it puts this article.

This article has been compiled using information available to us up to 20/08/21.

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