The centerpiece of today’s HR service delivery model is the HR business partner role. These are the individuals who are charged with delivering strategic HR advice to business unit leaders. Great HR business partners can drive great talent decisions and enhanced business results. Yet, in so many companies, HR business partners are not performing their roles properly.
Paradoxically, most business unit leaders, if asked, would say very positive things about their HR business partners. After all, they look to their HR business partners to solve their staffing and employee relations problems and to run their annual talent and compensation cycles. From the prospective of these leaders, since these activities happen smoothly, their HR business partners must be doing a decent job.
Here’s the rub. These business unit leaders do not know what they are not getting form their HR business partners. This includes:
- ● sophisticated workforce planning for future growth
- ● analysis of what it takes to make great managers and designing the right interventions
- ● understanding the key roles and teams in the business unit and bringing approaches to strengthen them
- ● ability to deliver effective coaching and to impart this knowledge to others
- ● delivering a talent review process that goes beyond the “motions” and challenges line leaders to make tough decisions about development, deployment and succession
These are a few examples of what great HR business partners are able to deliver. To do this, they need to have strong consulting, coaching and program management skills not normally possessed by HR generalists appointed to this role. If you are serious about what you want form your HR business partners, then train them properly in simulation workshops where these skills are explained and demonstrated and where participants practice the skills in small facilitated breakout groups.
A well designed program will require the participants to make specific commitments to use the newly-learned skills and will provide limited, targeted coaching to the participants to reinforce what they learned and to hold them accountable for their commitments. It will also include a mechanism for measuring change.The results will be dramatic.