By now, almost all companies of significant size have transformed to an HR service delivery model which pairs HR Business Partners with senior line executives leading units of approximately 500 employees. To perform their role effectively, the HR Business Partners must act as HR business consultants to their line clients, bringing talent-related solutions which are both strategic and aligned to important business needs. Companies have been slow to train their HR business partners to do this effectively.
These skills, many of which are behavioral, are best learned in workshops and follow-up coaching which use a prescribed format:
- Explanation – describing in a classroom setting how consultative HR Business Partners collaborate with senior executives and contrast this approach with non-consultative styles of behavior.
- Demonstration – exposing the HR Business Partners to live simulated discussions showing consultative interactions with senior leaders involving real business topics.
- Assessment – using the Bizet Activity Vector Analysis assessment to show each class participant how they currently map against strong HR Business Partner consultative behaviors.
- Role Playing – assisting each HR Business Partner with role-playing the correct consultative behaviors and tracking progress as the skills are built during the workshop.
- Commitment – securing the commitment of each HR Business Partner to use the newly-learned consultative approach in addressing a real business issue with a senior executive.
- Confirmation — debriefing the HR Business Partners on their success in meeting their commitments.
- Experiential Learning — providing limited coaching to the HR Business Partners for three months to guide them as they apply the consultative behaviors to their daily work
These steps should be proceeded by thorough preparation where a senior HR Business Partner or Talent Leader “co-creates” the full process with an experienced HR consultant. The workshop should be facilitated by a sufficient number of experienced consultants to work with each participant in numerous practice breakout sessions. The coaches should have a solid understanding of the HR Business Partner role and the client’s industry.