image - Human resources business partner: why it’s a key role in global companies

Global HR 9 min

Human resources business partner: why it’s a key role in global companies

Written by Barbara Matthews
Barbara Matthews

Share

share to linkedInshare to Twittershare to Facebook
Link copied
to clipboard

Even HR professionals struggle translating their goals into clear and actionable steps. On the other hand, strategic executives might be out of touch with the intricacies of HR dynamics. The problem here is the disconnect between strategy and implementation. 

A human resources business partner (HRBP) serves as the bridge between the two.

In this article, you’ll learn what a HRBP is, explore their key roles, and discover how they can help your global team. 

What is a human resource business partner? 

An human resources business partner (HRBP) is an experienced HR professional who connects a company’s people strategy to their overall business strategy.

Think of a HRBP as a strategic liaison between a company’s workforce and leadership.

HRBPs don’t work within the HR department but between the HR department and top executives. HRBPs can even steer a company’s direction, since they review the company’s big-picture mission statement and set HR priorities that align with those objectives.

People strategy vs. business strategy

HRBPs intertwine people and business strategies of a company. Let’s break down why each strategy matters and why they need to be aligned.

People strategy

People strategy is used for the organization’s human capital. It encompasses how a company attracts, retains, and nurtures its talent. 

Imagine setting ambitious targets for business growth without considering whether you have the necessary talent and resources to drive that growth. Clearly, you need to consider the human element for strategic growth.

Business strategy

Business strategy is used for the organization’s growth and achievement. It provides direction, setting the pace for where the company is headed, and how it plans to get there.

Developing a plan for acquiring talent but not aligning it with your business’s needs could lead to a talent surplus or shortage.

An HRBP is the connecting force between your business objectives and the company’s human capital. Make sure your two strategies continuously align to avoid inefficiencies and missed opportunities.

What are the qualifications of an HR business partner? 

A good HRBP should bring a unique blend of knowledge, experience, and skills to the table.

Educational background

Check if your HRBP has a strong background and foundational knowledge in HR management. Your HRBP should have strong theoretical and practical insight in human resources. This may be supported with a certification or degree in HR management.

Experience

Make sure your HRBP has practical experience in traditional HR domains, like the following:

  • Talent acquisition

  • People management

  • Benefits administration

Technical skills

An HRBP needs skills beyond basic HR knowledge. These include the following:

  • Analytical skills

  • Strategic leadership

  • Cultural awareness

  • Project management

  • An understanding of labor laws

Workplace skills

An effective HRPB should also demonstrate interpersonal communication skills, workforce mentorship, and active listening skills.

How does an HRBP benefit your global company?

International companies face different challenges throughout their spread workforce. A strong HRBP should unify your company’s HR and business strategies for long-term success. Key benefits that HRBPs offer your global team are:

They help improve the employee experience 

HRBPs understand the nuances of employee needs. A strong HRBP takes action to improve your employee experience. They address time-sensitive cases and also look for long-term solutions that prevent similar problems in the future. For example, your HRBP might streamline recruitment processes to ensure that remote onboarding is seamless and effective. 

They help improve retention

Employees who are well-supported are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs and stick around longer. An HRBP cultivates an environment where employees feel valued. In fact, high-performing HRBPs have been known to bolster employee retention by up to 24%.

They help increase the bottom line

HRBPs also have a direct impact on a company’s bottom line. The can improve revenue by up to 7% and profit by up to 9%. People are the driving force of any company’s success. HRBPs ensure employee potential is fully harnessed to increase profit.

The four key roles of HRBPs

The role of an HR business partner evolved significantly over the years. It’s become increasingly integral to the operations and strategies of a business. 

Here are the four main roles of HRBPs:

1. Operations manager

As an operations manager, an HRBP acts as a steward of the organization’s HR policies and procedures. Their responsibilities encompass a wide range of tasks, including the following: 

  • Gathering feedback

  • Running audits

  • Benchmarking against industry standards

Their continuous monitoring and adaptation keep HR operations effective, efficient, and up-to-date.

For example, imagine that a tech company recently transitioned to remote work. The HRBP recognizes that existing policies are no longer relevant. They review policies around working hours, communication tools, and performance metrics. Based on their evaluation, the HRBP introduces flexible work hours and incorporate new tools for instant messaging and virtual meetings. 

2. Emergency responder

As an emergency responder, an HRBP resolves challenges that demand immediate attention. These tasks might include the following:

  • Addressing a spike in employee grievances

  • Filling talent gaps

  • Navigating unexpected organizational changes

By quickly getting to the root cause, HRBPs ensure short-term challenges don’t evolve into long-term setbacks. 

Let’s say a key product at a manufacturing company is recalled due to a defect, and the organization faces immense pressure from clients and employees. The HRBP, acting as an emergency responder, promptly reassures external stakeholders and collaborates with management to resolve complaints.

3. Strategic partner

As a strategic partner, an HRBP collaborates with top-level management to craft long-term HR strategies. These strategies align with the company’s broader mission and vision. HR strategies may include the following:

  • Talent acquisition

  • Leadership development

  • Cultural initiatives

An HRBP’s strategic role is to identify future HR needs based on business goals. Your HRBP should foster growth and innovation while actioning strategies to meet your goals. For example, an e-commerce startup identifies a potential market gap in a new region. To expand, they need skilled professionals familiar with the region. The HRBP works closely with senior management to craft a talent acquisition strategy. They create training programs and introduce incentives to attract top-notch professionals.

4. Employee mediator

As an employee mediator, an HRBP addresses concerns between employees and management. This role involves the following:

  • Resolving conflicts

  • Providing career guidance

  • Addressing workplace challenges

HRBPs understands organizational dynamics and employee needs. They ensure that solutions are both fair and in line with business objectives. This leads to a more positive and engaged workplace culture.

Imagine two team leaders in a marketing agency that are constantly in conflict with each other. The HRBP counsels them acting as an employee mediator. The HRBP discovers the underlying issue, and introduces new collaborative tools to help the employees collaborate.

How an HRBP can help your global team

Managing a global team requires specialized handling. Let’s discuss further why an HRBP is so important and how it helps global teams.

People strategy for global teams

An HRBP helps your people strategy in the following ways:

Nurture the employee experience

HRBPs ensure that each team member feels like an integral part of the larger organization. They facilitate cross-cultural training sessions to deepen an organizations’ understanding and appreciation of diverse work cultures. 

HRBPs also set up regular global team meetups, whether virtual or in-person, to strengthen camaraderie. Plus, they analyze global metrics, such as regional turnover rates or levels of employee engagement, and address any challenges that arise.

Attract talent

HRBPs play a key role in attracting talent, particularly through company branding. They develop recruitment strategies to build a brand that attracts local and global talent. HRBPs also customize benefits and salaries based on regional considerations. They also create a work culture that allows autonomy and flexibility within remote work.

Develop and outline purpose

Globally dispersed teams need a unifying purpose. HRBPs ensure that every region understands and aligns with the company’s global mission. 

HRBPS can open virtual town halls to reinforce the company’s objectives and values. They might create localized training videos for that are region-specific but connected to the larger vision of the company.

Nurture talent

HRBPs capitalize on the talent they attract. They provide professional development opportunities through:

  • Upskilling

  • Training

  • Horizontal transfers

  • Coaching

  • Leadership training

  • Establishing career paths

HRBPs might even facilitate global exchange programs so employees can experience working in different regional offices. 

Foster collaboration

Communication within global teams is more intricate than merely tackling time zones. HRBPs provide tools for multilingual teams, platforms to accommodate async working hours, and keep workflows streamlined. Ultimately, HRBPs make sure that global employees work together and feel connected.

Business strategy for global teams

An HRBP can help your business strategy in the following ways:

Define the business’s competitive advantage

To be competitive in a global market, companies need to leverage the diverse skills of their international teams. HRBPs brings out this talent to set your company apart. For instance, if your company operates in multiple continents, an HRBP will use local insights for better product development and service delivery.

Define targets

Company targets can vary across global teams due to the following factors: 

  • Different market dynamics

  • Regional challenges

  • Cultural nuances

HRBPs bridge this gap by setting unique targets that work towards the company’s universal goals. This ensures that global initiatives remain on track.

Make data-driven decisions

The global landscape is vast and varied, so you need to rely on accurate data to make business decisions. 

HRBPs make sure that employee performance metrics are in line with business key performance indicators. This should be done through a holistic approach that respects employee strengths and capacity.

Keep the big goal in mind

Every small decision and step should take the company closer to its goals. 

Regional teams have specific objective, but they need to contribute to the company’s overall mission. 

HRBPs balance regional priorities with global objectives and ensure progress toward the bigger picture.

Unlock global success with Remote

If your business needs help connecting your HR and business strategy departments, an HRBP is the best person for the job. 

If your HR team needs help managing a distributed team, Remote is the platform you need. 

Remote’s platform gives you everything you need to grow and support a global workforce. Remote makes it easy to hire, manage, and pay international employees and contractors confidently and compliantly. 

Sign up with Remote for free today.

Subscribe to receive the latest
Remote blog posts and updates in your inbox.