What High Performing HR Business Partners Do Differently

What High Performing HR Business Partners Do Differently
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High Performing HR Business Partners Act Differently
Even after decades of trying to improve, the majority of business leaders and employees perceive HR Business Partners to be too reactive, transactional, and administrative to truly understand, predict, and consult on their strategic talent management issues in a way that adds measurable value to the business.  Why do HR Business Partners continue to struggle when business leaders know that their ability to attract, develop, engage, and retain top talent is a vital ingredient for their success?

Three Enduring Problems that Must Be Solved
We believe that the value disconnect centers on three enduring problems.

  1. Lack of Business Acumen
    In order to add business value, HR Business Partners need to understand how their business operates, competes, and makes money.  It is almost impossible to make strategic and impactful talent decisions without understanding the strategic and financial context in which they are being made.

    High performing HR Business Partners understand business drivers and tend to come from functional roles like sales, operations, finance, or engineering.

    Do your HR Business Partners have the business acumen to advise business leaders on strategic talent decisions in a way that will move the business AND the people forward on a path that makes sense?
  2. Lack of Consultative Partnering Skills
    While business acumen is an essential foundation to add value, it is not enough.  HR Business Partners must be value-added internal consultants to the business.  They must be able to lead highly consultative and client-centered conversations that build trust, earn a seat at the table, and uncover priorities.

    High performing HR Business Partners can play a variety of roles at any given time, depending on the situation and needs of the people they are working with.  They skillfully shift between the role of facilitator, problem solver, coach, partner, administrator, technical expert, strategist, and influencer depending upon the stakes and situation. 

    Can your HR Business Partners play the roles required to identify what matters most to their clients and their key stakeholders, link proven solutions to client priorities, and articulate next steps in a way that makes sense to the business AND the people?
  3. Lack of Change Management Expertise
    The last piece of the puzzle is leading and managing change.  What good are plans unless they can be fully implemented?  HR Business Partners must be able to help their clients go from strategy to execution in a way that aligns with their unique culture and talent management strategy.

    We know from change management simulation training data that high performing HR Business Partners often have Lean, Six Sigma, and change management expertise that allows them to effectively help their clients to assess the current situation, build the business case for change, co-create the vision for change, and develop a practical plan to get from where they are to where they want to be.

    Can your HR Business Partners effectively lead and manage organizational change?

The Bottom Line
Our organizational alignment research found that talent accounts for 29% of the difference between high and low performing companies.  It also found that HR Business Partners are not adding as much value as their leaders would like.  Is your organization ready to help your HR Business partners maximize their value to the business AND the people?

To learn more about high performing HR Business Partners, download Want to Sit at the Grown-Up Table? Becoming a True HR Business Partner

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