We must understand our role as a HR Business Partner (HRBP) in order for the transformation to take place. Having a good understanding of the business model and priorities is important as it is critical to implement and deliver HR advice and solutions to meet the evolving needs of the organisation. In recent years, HRBPs are directly involved in major business decisions of the organisation, including the formation of strategies, the design of the organisation as well as the execution. This however, is only possible if HR leaders think like a business manager. And this is a fundamental mindset shift.
At the service delivery level, HR as an entity has to ensure that the HRBP foundation is well established and organised. In Citi, our efficient model is having few Centres of Excellence, comprising of Shared Services and Support and Functional Specialists to support the HRBP and the business. The HR Shared Services could be embedded within a broader HR group, or function as an independent HR operation. With this segregation of function, it removes the transactional operations from the HRBP, though not 100%, but at least majority of the administrative work sits with the processing specialists, thereby ensuring that each function gets the right attention it truly deserves.
As we inch towards a more strategic role, regular and open communication between line managers and HR becomes increasingly important in order to develop innovative solutions that address the demands of a changing competitive landscape. At the same time, we must not forget that HR’s role is not only to support the objectives of the business; it is also to be the voice of the employees. It is never easy to strike a balance between the two roles but we have to try our level best.