How to Identify and Overcome Barriers to Strategic HRBP Impact | Gartner

HR Effectiveness

The Human Resources Business Partner (HRBP) plays a vital role in the HR function and is one that many business leaders rely on and value. Although the HRBP role has become increasingly strategic in many organizations, barriers prevent HRBPs from reaching their full strategic potential. And while CHROs might cite the burden of operational work as the most significant barrier, this Gartner article suggests that, regardless of the HR operating model and organizational structure, three key barriers hinder HRBPs from maximizing their strategic impact: 1) HRBPs’ interests, skills, or role expectations are unclear or misaligned, 2) Tactical or operational work takes precedence over strategic initiatives, and 3) HR and business unit leaders are misaligned. As CHROs help pinpoint which barriers may detract from an HRBP’s strategic impact, there are five questions they can ask. Figure 1. shows a flowchart for asking these questions sequentially to inform the most relevant action and solution. The first question is: Does the HRBP have an interest in strategic or operational work? If an HRBP does not enjoy the strategic aspects of the role and prefers operational work, it would lead to a different follow-up question on the flowchart than it would for an HRBP that prefers the strategic components. With many CHROs having one of their performance or career check-in discussions with each HRBP direct report around this time of the year, these five questions might spark insights for that discussion.