Organizational Wellness

Maximizing the Impact of Human Resources with Strategic HR Business Partnering

Feb 23, 2023
Last Updated Feb 22, 2024

The salsa, the rumba, the cha cha, the quickstep, the west coast swing…all of these dances have one thing in common. You need a partner to twirl and bop around the dance floor with you. And even though some dances can be done solo, it’s usually more fun if you’re with a partner — or even a group of friends.

Believe it or not, addressing human resources (HR) needs for your organization works the same way. HR functions can be done alone, with you and your HR team solely responsible for carrying out HR functions. But the process will be a lot smoother if you act as a strategic partner to other departments.

The Ultimate Guide to HR.png

HR business partnering is becoming an increasingly popular trend in the workplace. HR business partners are HR leaders who help organizations make the most of human capital by providing strategic direction, management, and support for the people-related policies, processes, and practices that drive organizational success. As a result, these professionals play a key role in cultivating a healthy and productive workforce.

What is HR Business Partnering?

HR business partnering is an operations strategy that helps you understand how each area works together to reach organizational goals. It involves building relationships with managers and employees in other business units and working collaboratively to solve problems and identify opportunities.

An HR business partner (HRBP) does more than simply offer advice or suggest policy changes to people management — they truly engage with stakeholders at all levels to guide the organization forward. By developing strong partnerships between the HR team and other areas of the business, they help foster an environment where different departments can work together towards common business objectives. 

A successful HR business partner will have extensive knowledge of human resources best practices, solid problem-solving abilities, excellent communication skills, and plenty of experience with people management. While an HR generalist background and knowledge of HR policies are useful, it’s more important that they can approach human resources strategically and collaborate with anyone for all kinds of initiatives. They need to be open-minded so they can build trust with leadership teams and frontline employees. Their goal is to find creative and strategic solutions for challenging HR issues.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has a great example of a job description for an HR business partner.

What Are the Benefits of HR Business Partnering?

The  HR business partner model is relatively new to business management, but it’s quickly becoming a vital part of any successful organization. At its core, HR business partnering focuses on the value of its most critical asset: human capital.

HRBPs add value to your company through:

  • Higher employee engagement: Through their relationships with multiple departments, HRBPs understand the needs of employees and create tailored solutions to keep them engaged in their roles.
  • Increased productivity and performance: They’ll have intimate knowledge of key performance indicators for each team. They can partner business leaders on bespoke development plans suited for individual talents. This could involve anything from specialized training sessions to mentorship programs — all designed to improve employee performance over time while reducing turnover among high performers.
  • Increased employee retention: By forming strong relationships with key stakeholders, HRBPs can also recommend ways to keep employees motivated and eager to come to work. Gartner reports that high-performing HRBPs can spark an increase of up to 24% in employee retention.
  • Improved recruitment and onboardingexperiences: When it comes to talent acquisition, HRBPs have unique insights into the company’s culture, values, and goals. This can help them craft job descriptions that accurately reflect the desired skillset and experience level. They may also be better equipped to help senior leadership identify external candidates who will fit the existing organizational framework.

HR business partners don’t just help organizations achieve better employee relations or reach strategic objectives. They also help tangibly improve the bottom line. According to Gartner, organizations with high-performing HRBPs saw revenue increase by up to 7% and profits increase by up to 9%.

What Does A Human Resources Business Partner Manage?

In the HR business partner role, HR directors act as strategic advisors to the leadership team. They provide guidance on critical decisions related to personnel matters. You’ll typically find these tasks and competencies in the day-to-day HR business partner job:

  1. Strategic planning: To help advance the company’s mission and objectives, an HR business partner works closely with managers and other stakeholders to develop plans that provide strategic guidance. They also consider employee engagement when making decisions. HRBPs are usually the ones who provide advice on labor laws and employee benefits packages.
  2. Performance development and growth: HR business partners oversee employee performance management, including goal setting, performance reviews, and coaching sessions. They may also design and implement training programs that keep employees up-to-date on policy changes or new technologies. Additionally, they coordinate rewards programs, like employee recognition or bonuses.
  3. Cross-functional collaboration with leadership: HR business partners also work with managers, stakeholders, and strategic partners to identify opportunities for collaboration. Their goal is to promote both employee engagement and organizational performance. They may also develop processes or protocols for effective communication between different departments and help resolve any conflicts that arise.
  4. Change managementand organizational growth: HR business partners help develop new policies, restructure processes, and design more efficient procedures. Their primary focus is on people and their individual contributions, so they may use metrics from surveys and other feedback to inform decisions about how to engage with staff members. HRBPs build relationships with all stakeholders to get buy-in on proposed solutions.

HRBPs and HR managers support employees through every kind of transition — including the switch to a hybrid work model! Check out our guide to supporting and encouraging your workforce throughout their hybrid experience.

HR Business Partnering Helps You Prioritize the Full Employee Experience

Ultimately, HR business partners are essential players within any organization. They bridge gaps between various departments and advocate for their teams’ needs at every level. They also help to create a safer work environment where everyone feels heard and respected no matter what department they happen to sit in!

By strategically building close relationships with multiple departments, HRBPs can better understand the needs of employees. That’s not limited to just a work perspective, either. HRBPs gain deeper insights into the whole employee experience, including their mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing. Their goal is to learn how the organization can best support overall employee health.

One great HR strategy for supporting employee wellness is to maintain an employee wellbeing program. Talk to one of our specialists today to find out what you need to launch your own program and uplift your employee experience!

Talk to a Wellhub Wellbeing Specialist_US1.png



Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


Our weekly newsletter is your source of education and inspiration to help you create a corporate wellness program that actually matters.

By subscribing you agree Wellhub may use the information to contact you regarding relevant products and services. Questions? See our Privacy Policy.