Since the early nineties of the last century the HR business partner concept has increased in popularity.
The last years the decline started and that will continue in 2021. In some big organisations every unit had their own business partner. If the activities of these business partners were analysed, the results showed that a big proportion of these was very operational. Running around chasing numbers by lack of good systems and solving problems of employees by lack of good managers. The business partners complained that they didn’t have enough time to participate in the management team meetings and they created small teams around them. As a result nobody was happy. Management didn’t get high level HR advice, employees were complaining about the service of HR and the business partners felt exhausted.
HR needs more focus on operations, on people and on clients. The core of HR is the HR service centre, focused on high level customer service and using advanced HR tech. Depending on the size of the organisation you can benefit from one or more HR advisors/ architects/ business partners, whatever you call them. Not too many! And in the end, HR should be a partner of the business, a partner of the workforce, a partner of the clients and a partner of the other stakeholders of the organisation.
Sometimes HR has become more the guardian of management than the guardian of the values. HR can play an important role in making sure organisations do the right things, for employees, candidates, clients and other stakeholders. Not by preaching and policing, but by engaging in critical conversations and by using the power of data and analysis. Reducing bias and prejudice is a high priority for HR.
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