What Does a HR Business Partner Do?

Updated on December 22nd, 2021
What Does a HR Business Partner Do?

The secret behind a successful organization is a team that strives hard to achieve its goals and becomes a reason for its growth. However, they need someone to pave a path for them and make their tasks easier for them. To fulfill this duty, the role of Human Resource Business Partner (HRBP) was introduced in the 1990s.

HR business partners' roles are different from other positions such as HR generalist or an HR analyst. In this article, you’ll learn about an HR business partner's resume; their primary duties, skillset, and their role in transforming an organization.

More importantly, by leading through the characteristics of an HRBP, you’ll learn how to become a great HR business partner. If you're interested in learning more via video, then watch below. Otherwise, skip ahead.

Let’s get started.

What is a HR Business Partner?

A HR business partner (HRBP) is a HR professional who works with an organization’s executives/C-suite to improve their HR functions. They create human resource agendas and lead HR departments with the aim of achieving an organization’s business objectives.

The Role of The HR Business Partner – Duties and Tasks

More than two decades ago, Dave Ulrich introduced a HR competency model, The Ulrich Model. In this model, he compartmentalized all HR functions into four segments.


The role of HRBP (aka strategic partner) was defined in this model as an entity that works directly with the senior management (of an organization), such as the HR coordinator, to align its business goals with employees and management goals in designated business units.

HRBP’s Role In Onboarding Business Leaders

Finding talented and skilled individuals with a forward, data-driven, and futuristic approach is the biggest challenge for a HRBP. They acquire this talent and design training and succession plans to nurture their employees' human capital assets.

When these employees are given the roles according to their capabilities, they excel at delivering tasks efficiently and productively. A HRBP creates programs to utilize the talent in the best possible way, shaping these employees into world-class leaders.

HRBP’s Role as a Change Agent

A HRBP steers performance management programs for which they need to keep on improving an organization's system. Therefore, they need to introduce new HR policies and laws to shape organizational change.

However, they have to make sure that the changes are applied without disturbing the organization's harmony and stay vigilant during the whole transition phase the organization goes through.

What Skills Does an HR Business Partner Need?

A HRBP needs to acquire a number of key skills (listed below) to ensure business growth that can be directly attributed to human resources.

  1. Proactive Thinking – a strategic business partner needs to incorporate all internal and external influencing factors while working on various workforce challenges and strategies.
  2. People Management – the job of HRBP doesn’t end at recruiting talented people, rather it’s the first task from their to-do list. They need to have a direct approach toward maintaining a positive employee experience, developing a talent retention strategy, and creating succession planning strategies to develop new HR leaders.
  3. Communication Skills – they have to collaborate with executives in different tiers within an organization. Therefore, they need to be straightforward, intelligent and have proficiency in the language the team members speak.
  4. Creating Culture – they need to create an influential culture and maintain constructive employee relations.
  5. Professional Networking – the role of a HRBP is managing “human resource” which may strictly bound them to the internal team of their organization. However, building relationships within the industry may open up growth opportunities for their associated organization.
  6. Analytical skills – they should be proficient at crunching data and employing it usefully into the business strategies.
  7. Business Knowledge – the HRBP should be accustomed to the business jargon and acronyms and be able to speak “in business.”
  8. Decision Making – they should keenly observe the requirements of the business and make decisions that favor the business objectives.

HRBP is the personification of an indomitable spirit who’s willing to take risks for the company’s growth and stand by his/her decisions. Agility must run in their blood, which will make it easier for them to proceed to new tasks and learn through their ongoing experiences.

If you're interested in learning more about the HR role, then check out our HR certifications.

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The Difference Between a HR Manager and a HR Business Partner

A HR manager and HR business partner could have the same level of experience, but the nature of their jobs differ..

Have a look at the table below to understand how a HR manager job description differs from that of a HRBP:

S. No.HR Business PartnerHR Manager
1.A HR business partner holds a strategic role in an organization that demands them to develop, implement, and maintain effective HR strategies. They create employment laws for the firm and train executives for all HR issues that (may) arise in the firm.A HR manager enforces the laws created by the HRBP and the HR director and makes sure that the team is practicing the company's principles.
2.The HRBP is an individual collaborator in an organization who works with the executives.The HR manager works with senior HRs, vice presidents of HR, HR generalists, HR directors, etc. and is a part of the core internal team. Additionally, the HR manager also oversees the employees working in the HR department.
3.The job description of an HRBP entails strategic planning, succession planning, employee training, analyzing talent requirements, recruiting, and onboarding.A HR manager is mainly responsible for creating company’s disciplinary policies, payroll and benefits processing, coordinating support staff, talent acquisition, ensuring regulatory compliance, and measuring employee productivity.

Why is an Business Partner Important for a firm?

The business partner model strengthens an organization, relieves pressure from the executives, and provides strategic solutions to problems.

With the involvement of an external HRBP in an organization, the executives and management can focus on their core responsibilities instead of worrying about designing strategies and aligning them with the company’s long-term goals.

Additionally, they’re equipped to assess each employee’s strengths and weaknesses and fully utilize their capabilities to deliver on the company’s goals.

How Much Does an HRBP earn?

Since it’s such a demanding job, all HR business partners are offered enticing packages.

According to Glassdoor, on average, a HR business partner can earn $85,425 per year in the United States.

Of course, that figure varies from location to location (and industry to industry).

How to Become an HR Business Partner?

Becoming a HRBP requires years of experience, learning about business/the industry you’re interested in, company, and working on qualities like consistency, dedication, and curiosity.

We’ve crafted the following roadmap for you that will shape you as a perfect HR business partner:

  1. Learn about business management, the role of HR in business, financial management, data analytics, people management, and basic rules of HR.
  2. Sharpen your networking skills and create a solid online presence.
  3. Develop a habit of weighing the significance of every strategy you develop for business. Dry run different outputs from your plan and pick the optimal solution. This will hone your strategic thinking skills, which will become an intrinsic part of your process.
  4. Be patient with your role in the organization. If it’s your entry role in HR, there may be a lot in the pool for you. Take time to learn all ins and outs of business while also advancing in your human resources career path.
  5. Get into HR Back Office and develop your skills as an administrative expert.
  6. Start managing projects. As a junior personnel, you need to start with small projects and pair up your strategies with the main goal. You’ll gain confidence as you move ahead, and before you know it, will be able to manage projects for the entire organization.
  7. Nurture your skills in Talent Acquisition and Compensation and Benefits. This will add value and vital skills to your resume.
  8. Move to CoE.
  9. Apply for the client support position and observe how senior managers maintain relationships with clients and stakeholders.

Last but not least, apply for a business partner job.

Wrapping it Up

Today, a lot of companies are struggling with the unprecedented COVID-19 situation. They can’t afford to keep their employees, let alone onboard new ones.

During this time of great need, the HRBP can shape HR strategies that will help them survive during this pandemic. They can also play a critical role in supporting their fellow colleagues in the best ways possible. As an aspiring HRBP, this is your time to shine – make it count.



If you are new to Human Resources and are looking to break into a HR role, we recommend taking our HR Certification Courses, where you will learn how to build your skillset in human resources, build your human resources network, craft a great HR resume, and create a successful job search strategy.