HR: stepping up to the challenge

The changing nature of HR, and how HR business partners need to step up to the plate

In recent years, the Ulrich three-box HR model (shared services, centres of excellence and HR business partners) has become the standard delivery model for HR. The model is fundamentally sound and has taken HR forward, but in our research we have found a big gap between intention and reality, especially in the role of HR business partners. Why?

Historically, a lot of HR work has been about delivering processes to the business, administering payroll, keeping out of tribunals, writing terms and conditions etc. The HR business partner role is very different. The business takes HR’s historical role as a given; what they value is HR’s role in helping them deliver sustainable high performance. It’s about delivering innovative ways of developing organisational and people capability, building on deep, data-driven insights into the strategic and commercial direction of the business. This requires a different level of thinking, as the complexity and degree of ambiguity inherent in the role and in the environment in which organisations are operating has increased exponentially.

As organisational structures become leaner and ever more matrixed, partner roles become the knot in the bow tie, where they are pivotal in ensuring the whole model functions effectively. Nowhere has this been more prevalent than in HR.

The Advanced HR Business Partner Programme gives participants the tools to meet this challenge. As an individual, you’ll develop a more pragmatic and commercial way of thinking about how HR adds value that ensures you have something relevant to say and the confidence and savvy to ensure you are heard.

As an organisation, you’ll get a challenging HR professional who can contribute effectively to the overall business agenda, who drives HR solutions out of business needs and who is more confident in contributing to business decision-making, playing a full role as a member of the leadership team.