HR Business Partner Job Description: What You Should Know

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HR Business Partner Job Description: What You Should Know

The HR business partner job description varies across companies. However, there are some typical responsibilities and competencies, and qualifications requirements that we will discuss to help you understand what the HRBP role looks like.

Contents
A sample HR Business Partner job description
– Job overview
Responsibilities of an HR Business Partner
HRBP skills and qualifications
HR Business Partner salary
A day in the life of an HR Business Partner 

A sample HR Business Partner job description

Job overview

The HR Business Partners (or HRBP for short) help align an organization’s people strategy with its business strategy. They are not only an administrative expert and a people champion, but also a change agent and a strategic partner for the business. Together with line managers, the HRBP works on setting priorities, driving values, and delivering business results.

Depending on the size of the organization, a Human Resource Business Partner can be responsible for hundreds to thousands of employees. They are typically a part of the HR department.

Responsibilities of an HR Business Partner

The exact responsibilities of an HRBP can vary depending on the industry, company size, strategic objectives, the maturity of their HR organization, and so on. However, there are several responsibilities that remain the same for all HR Business Partners. 

1. Strategic planning

A good HRBP needs to be able to help their organization become future-ready by focusing on the existing workforce in the organization and prepare them for the future. Areas that they will need to work on include: 

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  • Reskilling and upskilling: identify training needs and assist the L&D function in aligning training programs with business objectives 
  • Strategic workforce planning: ensure the company’s workforce has the right size, shape, cost, and agility for the future 
  • Succession planning: select and develop key talent to ensure there are talents to fill in critical roles 

2. Coaching and consulting leadership about HR matters 

An HR Business Partner should have a clear understanding of the way current and future challenges affect the people at their organization. This is how the HRBP can provide effective advice and coaching to key stakeholders. 

However, the HRBP should only be an advisor and consultant and not the one who takes care of everything. Their job is to empower leadership to handle any people matters in the organization. 

Here are some responsibilities that you might encounter in an HRBP job description: 

  • Conduct weekly or bi-weekly meetings with business leaders and provide HR advice where necessary 
  • Be up-to-date on employment laws and regulations, as well as other legal requirements regarding people management, to help leaders ensure compliance
  • Provide guidance on the creation and implementation of HR processes and policies

3. Building a competitive organization

An HRBP helps their organization win clients and acquire and retain the best talent. Therefore, to help their company stay on top of the market, their work is two-fold. 

HRBPs play an important role in making sure that their business can strategize, train, and adapt to develop the best product. The responsibilities included in the HR business partner job description can include: 

  • Conducting day-to-day performance management guidance to line managers (for example mentoring, career planning, coaching, etc.) 
  • Helping line managers deal with organizational, people, and change-related issues
  • Optimizing organizational design to increase productivity and improve performance of the business

These HR professionals are also crucial in ensuring that the business can attract and retain the best talent. They might need to work on:

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  • Collaborating with other HR team members on implementing innovative and inclusive recruitment strategies
  • Developing or assisting in developing a future-proof compensation and benefits strategy
  • Implementing reward and recognition interventions to increase bottom-line results and employee engagement 

4. Being a company culture and employee experience champion

Helping build and maintain a strong organizational culture, as well as continuously improving the employee experience, is a core responsibility of future-ready HRBPs. Companies will often require the HR Business Partner to: 

  • Provide advice and suggestions for culture-related initiatives, such as cultural transformation 
  • Implement HRM interventions on employee wellness, diversity and inclusion, or talent management 
  • Working together with management and personnel to solve conflicts and help facilitate positive employee relations, maintain a good working environment, build morale, and decrease unwanted turnover

Keep in mind that the responsibilities are rarely ever the same across all levels of HR Business Partners. The senior HRBP (who can be the VP of HR or senior HR manager) will usually have a higher strategic role and will be the one leading the business conversation. As such, he or she will focus more on strategic planning, or coaching and consulting leadership about HR matters. Meanwhile, the mid-level HRBP (also called junior HR manager) is the one who contributes to the business conversation. This means that the larger part of their responsibilities will be related to assisting the senior HRBP in their coaching duty, helping line managers deal with people-related issues, or participating in the process of developing HR strategy. 

Strategic HR Business Partner
Based on the image from Deloitte.

HRBP skills and qualifications

HR Business Partner skills 

There are many skills that an HRBP needs in order to succeed. Here are some that will often appear in job descriptions. 

Data literacy 

An HR Business Partner doesn’t need to become a data scientist. However, most companies will require the HRBP to be able to understand data interpretation, collection, and creation. 

Here are some skills related to data literacy that an HRBP job description might have:

  • Ability to read and interpret dashboards and reports containing complex data 
  • Understanding of HR analytics techniques
  • Familiarity with data collection methods, both quantitative and qualitative
  • Ability to set up and track relevant metrics and KPIs and use them to drive business results

Business acumen 

This skill is all about understanding finance principles, risk and reward, and business outcomes. A strong HRBP is one who not only possesses good HR skills, but also a deep understanding of the industry their business is in. 

Some companies will prefer candidates who already have experience working as an HR Business Partner in their specific industry, while others might only need candidates to have the ability to acquire a thorough understanding of the organization and its industry later on.

Digital proficiency 

HR Business Partners should be able to use technology to increase efficiency and drive business results. 

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An HRBP should have experience using HR technology (such as an HRIS) to create and implement HR strategy, apply HR management practices, and track spending. The list can include HR-specific technologies such as the Human Resource Information System, or other technologies like business intelligence, data visualization programs, or online communication tools. Proficiency with the MS Office Suite and/or Google Suite is also a common requirement. 

People advocacy 

HRBPs need to be people champions who advocate for employees and push back when needed. They also need to have solid legal knowledge to best support the workforce and the business. A job description will commonly list skills such as: 

  • Knowledge and/or experience with national and regional labor law, and tax and social security regulations
  • Good grasp of HRM techniques and excellent people management skills 
  • Excellent mentoring and relationship building skills 
  • Ability to empathize with others

Other skills 

To succeed, an HRBP will need more than just the four competencies listed above. Most HRBP job advertisements will also have several other skills, such as: 

  • Great communication and presentation skills
  • Superb problem-solving skills
  • A good understanding of the many disciplines within HR, including diversity and inclusion, performance management, compensation and benefits, talent management, employee and union relations, etc. 
  • Excellent stakeholder management and developing good work relationships across the organization
  • Good change management and project management capabilities

HR Business Partner qualifications

Most organizations require HRBP job applicants to have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a field related to Human Resources Management, organizational studies, or business management/administration. Depending on where the company is located and its workforce and customer base, you might also need to have proof of proficiency in English or other languages. 

While an HR Business Partner certification is not mandatory, it can provide an extra edge during the application process. There are various HR Business Partner certifications on offer these days, many of which are online and self-paced. You can check out AIHR’s HR Business Partner 2.0 certificate program, the Strategic HR Business Partner certification at HCI, or the HR Business Partner program provided by LinkedIn Learning.  

HR Business Partner salary

Education, certifications, skills, years of experience, industry. These are among the many factors that can influence how much an HR Business Partner can earn.

According to salary.com, the average HRBP salary in the US is usually around $56,023 to $70,868. In an advisory position, an HRBP can typically earn between $84,200 and $106,700. Where you are based also influences how much you’re paid. A junior HRBP with one to four years of experience based in New York can earn $77,000, while in Houston, that number is $69,000, as reported by Payscale.

On the other side of the pond, the average salary of an HRBP in the UK is £56,841, according to Glassdoor

A day in the life of an HR Business Partner 

Here’s a glimpse into a typical day for an HR Business Partner. Please note that your actual day-to-day tasks will probably vary depending on the time of the year, your availability, and your business. 

Kick-start your day with some coffee, tea, or water (being hydrated is a necessary requirement for an HRBP or any job). You begin the workday by going through your emails and to-do list, as well as checking your calendar to prepare for upcoming meetings. If your team has stand-ups, then that’s the first meeting that you attend. 

After that, you need to sit down, either in person or through Zoom, with stakeholders, or key clients. Based on the data you’ve analyzed, you present a solution to improve retention for the community manager role. You’ve found out that your new hires find the onboarding inadequate, which leads to them quitting early. So you propose to set up more frequent meetings between the new hires and their managers and peers to set expectations, build relationships, and provide feedback as part of the onboarding process.

Then it’s time for lunch and maybe a relaxing walk around the block if weather permits. In the afternoon, you have some time to work on a few items on your (often massive) to-do list. This is followed by a meeting with the CHRO to align on a new HR policy on paid time off that needs an update in light of the pandemic. Have another project meeting soon after, and then you spend the rest of the workday on improving a product workflow. 

Once you’re all set for the day, it’s time to head home or maybe hit the gym. A good night’s sleep is just what you need after a productive day. 

A final word

The role of an HR business partner is varied and challenging. Getting a good understanding of an HR business partner job description will help you prepare for interviews and land your dream job.

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