ConsultingOrganizationPersonnelHR Business Partner

From rigid administrative machinery to an organizational unit that actively contributes to value creation: At the latest the Corona pandemic has shown that today HR can and must do much more than manage purely administrative tasks. The concept of the HR Business Partner - properly implemented - is one way of exploiting this potential and effectively integrating HR and strategy development.

From rigid administrative machinery to an organizational unit that actively contributes to value creation: At the latest the Corona pandemic has shown that today HR can and must do much more than manage purely administrative tasks. The concept of the HR Business Partner - properly implemented - is one way of exploiting this potential and effectively integrating HR and strategy development.

TRANSFORMING HR WITH THE HR BUSINESS PARTNER

The range of HR tasks has changed massively in recent decades. With the functional differentiation, the demands on HR have also increased: management development, personnel recruitment and development, employer branding and the handling of issues relating to corporate culture are just a few examples of the diverse tasks that fall within the area of responsibility of HR today. In order to keep pace with the increasing complexity, it is necessary to position HR intelligently and to involve it in strategic issues – at eye level with the management. It is essential to develop HR from an administrator to a strategic business partner. For many years, the HR business partner concept has been regarded as a promising approach to achieving this transformation. However, in many cases, its implementation does not achieve the desired success.

We advise and support you in sustainably professionalizing your HR department and achieving the necessary standing within the company. Only as a competent, accepted partner of the management and the executives of the business units is it possible for HR to actively contribute to value creation and to effectively drive the implementation of the corporate strategy with suitable personnel measures.

Julia Kobert - SEDLÁK & PARTNER

Julia Kobert
Corporate Communications
+49 4102 6993 21

DETERMINE THE PERFORMANCE OF YOUR PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT IN OUR FREE SHORT ANALYSIS. ALL DATA AND YOUR PARTICIPATION WILL OF COURSE BE TREATED CONFIDENTIALLY.

HR BUSINESS PARTNER - FROM ADMINISTRATOR TO CREATOR

Hardly any HR concept has been discussed with as much controversy in recent years as that of the HR Business Partner. It goes back to Dave Ulrich, who is himself responsible for some of the challenges involved in implementing the concept. After all, the description of his basic model leaves many questions unanswered – including the fundamental question of whether the HR Business Partner represents a role to be performed by a single function within HR, or whether it should be understood to encompass the entire HR function. The wide scope for interpretation means that the concept is frequently used but not consistently implemented.

Basically, the HR Business Partner concept pursues the goal of interlinking HR management with the strategic goals and challenges of the organization. Instead of merely performing an internal service function, HR is to become a strategic partner to the management. The idea is to transform HR from a purely administrative department into a central organizational unit that specifically applies its expertise in using a wide range of HR tools to support the entire organization in achieving its strategic goals, especially the business units.

As the central point of contact for the management on all HR-related issues, the HR Business Partner supports the business units as an enabler with HR measures so that they can fulfill their tasks and achieve their goals. In this way, the HR Business Partner actively intervenes in organizational events and develops strategies for improving the economic results of individual organizational units or the entire organization with the help of HR measures.

HR Business Partner

Own illustration based on Ulrich, D. (1997). Human Resource Champions: The Next Agenda for Adding Value and Delivering Results. Harvard Business Review Press.

How the HR Business Partner Model is structured:

  • HR Policy: HR Policy within HR acts as an organizing function and ensures that fundamental issues are dealt with
  • HR Business Partner: The HR Business Partner acts as a central point of contact for managers when it comes to HR-related issues in the respective areas
  • Service Center: The Service Center ensures that standard processes run smoothly and acts as a point of contact for employees
  • Competence Center: The Competence Center is responsible for the design of personnel concepts

WHY THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE HR BUSINESS PARTNER CONCEPT OFTEN DOES NOT SUCCEED

The concept is over 20 years old and is mentioned here only to represent various ways to transform HR into a creator – many organizations are still far from seeing their HR as a strategic partner. Why?

The effectiveness of the HR business partner concept stands and falls with the business competence of the persons acting in HR, the self-image of the organizational area, and the understanding of the roles of the employees within HR. However, the HR department’s creative drive and communication skills also play an important role.

To this day, many HR departments are almost exclusively operational. If the HR department continues to live in the old world, reacts only on demand, and continues to see the minimization of risks, compliance with rules, and the satisfaction of internal and external customers as the highest good, then it will be difficult for the concept to gain a foothold in the organization. Furthermore, the interfaces and role descriptions are often unclear.

Due to the frequent lack of business expertise in HR and the unsystematic connection, this often results in an acceptance problem. All too often, it is seen as an intrusion into someone else’s territory when HR wants to get involved in strategic matters – cooperation with management on an equal footing hardly seems possible. Often, management has not yet recognized the added value of involving HR in strategic matters, sees it primarily as a service provider, and does not trust it with the corresponding competencies.

HOW CAN THE TRANSFORMATION OF HR SUCCEED?

In order to enable the transformation of the HR department, fundamental changes in work processes, decision-making channels, and the self-image of the organizational unit are required.

Key prerequisites for successful implementation of the HR Business Partner concept include the following:

  • The willingness of the company’s management to involve the HR business partner in strategic issues, to ensure the necessary space is given, and to guarantee the right to have a say
  • The membership and participation in leadership teams in the business units
  • The competence and acceptance to be able to function as an HR Business Partner and to interlink organizational development with human resources development
  • The creative will of the future HR Business Partners to fill their new role and to work responsibly with the Competence Center to develop HR tools that meet the expectations and requirements of managers
  • The professional and economic execution of routine administrative processes
  • Addressing the motivation of employees and supporting the targeted development of the corporate culture
  • Clear role descriptions and definition of interfaces, systematic connection to existing structures

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