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`HRBP movement´ -   a necessary movement to reach a business focused People function

We have for many years talked about HR moving towards “becoming a more business focused People function”. A topic still relevant today. We see a need for the whole People function to be included in the collective group which needs to be more business focused and more strongly aligned to the business strategy. We believe HR need a position with a strong impact, and with an agenda which includes business development.  

- From earlier experiences, I see that every position within HR doesn’t necessarily need to be as business focused as others. Let´s start to focus on the position and role where most of the scope should be in the business and developing the business – the classic HR Business Partner. Says Maja Flykt, Senior Consultant, Influence People.  

Where does the necessity to change come from?   

During the change and growth of the People function, we have seen everything from new positions appearing, other positions disappearing and some have been reformed - to new People function constellations including areas such as Sustainability, Communication, Compliance etc. In other words, the People function is flexible in many aspects. At the same time as the People function are trying out the best team set up, there are some positions that remain no matter of the set-up. One of them is the HR Business Partner. Even if the scope can vary, the aim is always the same – to be `close´ to the business.  

Let´s put some focus in the environment we currently work in as well. It is everything from the digital arena, to fast moving gig economy, to organizational structures. Which need to be agile to be able to move at the same pace as the economy and the surrounding environment. The word “proactive” has not been as important as now. And the proactive way of working is one of many trends we have heard in relation to the focus on a modern People function. With that said, the aim for a “successful” HR Business Partner is to start working proactively. 


How to get there?  

So, the question is, is it possible to reach the point where the HR Business Partner will be business focused and a trusted, necessary stakeholder to lead the business alongside the strategy of the organization?  

At Influence People, we believe this is possible and also a crucial movement to make. By both developing current skills and mindsets as well as defining new ones, we can transition the traditional HR Business Partner. The title of the position is less important, the focus is on the scope. 

Crucial factors which will help the ability to become a more business focused position are:  

  • The ability to include data in business development. People Insights are essential to see how current data can enable development. Data such as gender, age, turnover etc. is still important to track – but to be more business aligned the whole scope of People Analytics needs to be included. Therefore, the next step is to collect data we don´t necessarily have, the data we believe we need to be smarter and more long-term strategic.
  • Employee Voice. Being business focused can sometimes unconsciously exclude the employee perspective, which is a mistake. Insight from the employee's perspective is extremely important to include in the journey, and engagement should not be taken for granted. 
  • We are partly going from a “compliant way of working” to a more agile way of working. A shift in mindset and behavior is crucial to be able to face the fast-working environment we are living in. However, one of the most important parts in the movement is becoming more business focused and a strong change leader with trust from stakeholders outside of the People function. 
  • Business focus rather than HR process focus. The fact is that it is easy to expect the People function to be business focused. However let´s not forget that the organization expect a lot from the People function. Since the People function can include many specialist competencies, it is then not as important that the HR Business Partner has all the skills which the rest of the team can back up with. The business sense is of big importance, and maybe it might not even be a person with the classic background from HR positions and a degree in Human Resource who will be the best suited person for the position. Only time will tell.

Want to know more?

If you have questions or want to learn more about HRBP Movement, please contact Maja Flykt, senior consultant, Influence People

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