Looking to know what a senior HR business partner does?
A senior HR business partner aligns human resources goals with organizational goals. Gartner report says that effective HRBPs increase employee retention by 24%, improve employee performance by 22%, boost profitability by 9%, and enhance revenue by 7%. It is hard to deny the importance of senior human resources business partners in improving the efficiency of the human resources department.
A senior HR business partner partners and aligns business units with HR functions. Let’s find out how it is achieved and what a senior human resources business partner does to meet both organizational and HR objectives.
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Senior HR Business Partner Role
A senior human resources business partner (HRBP) is a strategic liaison between the business and the human resources department. The senior human resources business partners are in contact with line managers to understand the business, process, and challenges. This firsthand knowledge is then used by the human resources department to set realistic goals and priorities.
Senior HRBP is a diverse role that requires human resources skills, industry sector knowledge, and strong business acumen. The senior HR business partner’s base salary ranges between $78,080 to $121,09 per year. They’re responsible for developing and shaping HR agenda that aligns company’s long-term objectives.
For example, let’s consider a training program initiated by HR to train employees in the operation department. This training program will fail if HR doesn’t understand this program’s operations, how it works, the challenges the operations team will face, and what type of skills and training they need for its successful implementation.
This is the job of the HR business partners to collaborate with the management to understand their work and requirements. In large multinational organizations, multiple HR business partners work with different business units. After that, they report the progress to a senior human resource business partner who then works with the decision-makers for strategic alignment between HR and business objectives.
HR managers are the main data source for senior HR business partners and that’s how they develop a link between management and HR.
Types of Senior HR Business Partners
Senior human resources business partners have two types based on their roles and responsibilities. Know that the job titles in both types remain the same but job responsibilities are different.
- The most common types of senior HRBPs are the ones who are experienced and qualified professionals. They already carry the experience of serving as an HR business partner for a few years. Companies prefer hiring experienced senior human resources business partners since these are experts in the subject matter. Experienced HRBPs are always hired in senior HRBP roles (seniority in terms of experience).
Here is an example job alert on Indeed:
They ask for 10+ years of experience as an HRBP to qualify for the senior HR business partner position.
- There are large-scale companies that hire a senior HRBP to manage and overlook HR business partners to streamline the process.
Here is an example job posting for this type of senior HRBP:
In this case, the demanded person will be responsible for managing other HR business partners and HR professionals.
Big organizations with massive workforces such as the manufacturing industry make use of this type of senior HRBP role. These organizations hire a person who exhibits skills more than a regular HR business partner so they can also manage different HR sections and business units.
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Senior HR Business Partner Responsibilities
Gartner identifies 4 key duties that an HR business partner must perform. A senior HR business partner, irrespective of its type, must perform these roles:
- Strategic partner
- Operations manager
- Emergency responder
- Employee mediator
These roles come with great responsibilities and they’re not just challenging but are twisted and complex. This makes the senior HR business partner’s job difficult.
Let’s explore these HRBP sub-roles and their responsibilities:
1. Strategic Partner
This role requires a strategic partner to address business challenges and key issues throughout the organization. You must exhibit a clear understanding and knowledge of the business units and processes so you can help in developing and implementing business strategy.
Strategic partnering of business with human resources is also a key responsibility of the senior HR business partner.
Here is a list of duties of a senior HR business partner for this role:
- Understanding the strategic needs of the company and talent requirements
- Tweaking and aligning HR strategy to meet business needs
- Working with business units
- Identifying talent needs for different business units and creating an appropriate strategy to meet talent requirements
- Representing business units and senior leaders throughout the organization as their representative
- Measuring HR performance by business strategy and needs.
2. Operations Manager
This is a monitoring role where a senior HR business partner acts as an operation manager. HRBPs in this role communicates with the employees, monitor, and collaborate with them on their challenges to try to fix them.
Here is the list of the major responsibilities:
- Working with operation managers to understand how the business operates
- Understanding and tracking employee behaviors
- Identifying operational challenges faced by employees
- Communicating and collaborating with employees
- Sharing organizational policies and procedures with employees
- Guiding employees on HR initiatives and what HR is doing to address their operational issues
- Creating human resources programs that align with culture and operations.
3. Emergency Responder
This is an important role where the senior HR business partner provides immediate solutions to challenges that managers and employees face. This includes dealing with both HR and non-HR severe challenges that demand instant resolution. In case of such emergencies, the associated senior HR business partner is the first responder to contact with.
The main responsibilities for this role include:
- Responding to complaints and issues of managers and employees in a quick way
- Addressing and answering queries of the managers and employees
- Understanding and responding to the immediate needs of managers and employees
- Having a contingency plan of action for emergency
- Preparing managers for all types of complex situations
- Defining SOPs for handling emergency issues
- Creating a long-term strategic solution for these issues so they aren’t repeated.
4. Employee Mediator
Not all the challenges in the workplace are operational or organizational. A majority of employee challenges are conflicts between two or more individuals. It is the responsibility of the senior HR business partner to act as an employee mediator to address and resolve their conflicts. Conflicts, whether personal or work-related, impact performance, productivity, culture, and environment, and the HRBPs must address them.
The main responsibilities for this role are:
- Working as a mediator to solve conflicts
- Managing and resolving employee and management conflicts
- Understanding employee personalities for better management of the workforce
- Addressing political challenges
- Identifying and fixing negative politics that ruin productivity and damage organizational culture.
Senior HR Business Partner Qualifications
As it is a crucial and high leadership position, this position requires sound skills and broad experience. The main qualifications are:
- Experience as an HR business partner for a 3-4 years
- Minimum 5 years of relevant experience in HR in a leadership position like HR manager or related job titles
- Sound understanding of human resources operations, business structure and functionality, and industry-related knowledge
- Minimum of a bachelor’s degree in human resources or business administration or a relevant field with certification in HRBP.
- Strong leadership, management, communication, interpersonal, people, and analytical skills.
Best Tips for New Senior HR Business Partners
It isn’t easy to work simultaneously for all 4 roles for new senior HR business partners. At one extreme, you do strategic planning and execution for HR and the organization while at the other end, you also resolve day-to-day employee issues and act as a mediator. Such diverse roles require some serious planning and skills.
Follow these practical tips that will help you kickstart your career:
1. Get Acquainted with the Organization
If you have joined as a senior HR business partner in a new company, the first thing to do is to familiarize yourself with the organization’s system. This includes HR, operations, workforce plans, processes, and employees. The more you know about the company and how it works, the better.
2. Evaluate Strategy and Metrics
Senior HR business partner is a strategic role so make sure you evaluate and review organizational and HR strategies. Check metrics and review current performance. Figure out where the company wants to go from here. Understand company objectives and goals.
A clear understanding of the strategy and metrics is essential to succeed in this role.
3. Meet More People
The role involves dealing and interacting with people including managers and employees across all levels.
So, interact with the employees to understand their needs and challenges. This will also help you in developing HR and employee training programs that help employees address and overcome company challenges.
Conduct early meetings and collaboration with the workforce to identify loopholes, behaviors, and political involvement. This information proves handy in cases of employee mediation.
4. Join Hands with Line Managers
Managers are the most valuable asset for any senior HR business partner as they provide you with firsthand data on operations and challenges. A senior HR business partner fails in the absence of this interaction and linkage with the manager.
Surround yourself with managers, allow them to contact you in case of issues, and start understanding the way they work.
5. Take Risks
Senior HR business partner jobs require a risk-taking mindset. In your early days, try accepting challenges and taking steps that can lead to a fruitful outcome.
For example, tweaking HR strategy, closing HR programs that aren’t performing well, creating a new system for handling emergencies in operations, and addressing employee conflicts that were unheard of for ages.
Look after anything that ruins the alignment between the organization and HR strategy.
Senior HR business partner is a challenging role mainly because of two reasons.
First, it isn’t easy to switch between different roles daily. One day you are sitting in the board meeting on strategic planning and the next day you are resolving a personal conflict between two employees.
Second, aligning business and HR and bridging the gap between leadership and employees has always been tough.
Know that the value a senior HR business partner brings to the table is matchless. If you love challenges, the senior HRBP role is the best career choice for you.
If you are new to human resources and are looking to break into an HR business partner role, we recommend taking our Certified HR Business Partner Certification Course, where you will learn how to build your skillset in human resources business partner, build your HRBP network, craft an excellent senior HR business partner resume, and create a successful HRBP job search strategy.