Effective HR Business Partnering
  • Managing people

Effective HR Business Partnering

How HR business partners can work with senior leaders to support strategic business aims


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In recent years, we’ve grown to realise that corporate success is as much about people as it is about strategy. However compelling the strategy or the killer business model, without talented leaders and engaged employees, the delivery will falter.

Not only does strategy implementation depend on people, but in our fast-changing world, organizations need talented and innovative people able to continually renew the strategy itself and cultures that are comfortable with innovation and change.

With this focus on the importance of people and organizational culture, the HR value proposition should be about delivering the support critical to strategic success. The role of the HR professional and of the HR business partner in particular has expanded enormously but it has not always been able to fulfil this proposition.

To help HR business partners in stepping up to the mark to truly participate in forwarding their organizations’ strategic objectives, Henley Business School is running two one-day, stand-alone, masterclasses that focus on HR Business Partnering: the Effective HR Business Partnering Part 1 and Part 2.

According to program director Professor Nick Kemsley “No longer are HR business partners (HRBPs) simply generalist HR managers… they are the ‘knot in the bow tie’ between the centre of a business and its constituent business units.”

This is a big role and they need the tools and skills to fulfil it. “It is vital that HR upskills itself to keep pace and close the gap between demand and supply. If we continue to be the ‘cobbler’s children’ of business then we should expect the conversations around our value and cost to become even more frequent and pronounced,” says Kemsley.

Partnering is about working with business leaders to achieve shared organizational objectives. For HR, this focuses on designing and implementing HR systems and processes that support strategic business aims. So, the HRBP needs to be good at HR, but also needs to develop other skills and capabilities to fulfil a wider role in supporting business leaders across the organization in achieving strategic aims, and to  offer organizational design and change management support.

To participate effectively the HRBP needs to have commercial acumen and a pragmatic yet challenging attitude. He or she needs to establish credibility and trust in order to be manage and build productive relationships with stakeholders. He or she also needs to talk the language of talent and performance - identifying and reviewing talent, monitoring and managing performance management, and keeping on top of succession planning.

According to Kemsley, now is a time “When it is essential that HR functions establish themselves as a fundamental value partner for business and then deliver powerfully against this proposition.” These two masterclasses aim to help HRBPs deliver to that value proposition.

Effective HR Business Partnering Part 1 will take place at Henley Business School on 25 April and again on 27 September 2017 and Part 2 on 14 June and again on 11 October 2017.

Set in the heart of the Thames Valley and conveniently located for London, Henley is one of the oldest and most respected business schools in Europe. Number 20 in the world for the combined ranking of open and custom programmes (FT 2019), it is part of an elite group of business schools to be triple-accredited for the quality and capability of faculty and output.

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