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  • Dr. Susan Doering

A Seat at the Table for your HR Business Partner

Why do many managers struggle on their own about staffing issues and often wait to involve their HR business partner until late in the game? Working recently with a fantastic group of HR business partners I heard their loud cry for a seat at the table early on in HR processes. In this way they bring their expertise and network to the conversation and everyone benefits.

The case for a true partnership with HR business partner is clear:

1. Recruiting staff It makes the most sense to include the HR business partner in the conversation as soon as a staffing gap is recognised, and even better if an office mapping exercise has already been carried out and a strategic staff plan is in place. But managers also have to be agile as we see staffing needs arising from the demands of the Covid crisis. The HR business partners’ experience and procedural insight is invaluable in finding appropriate ways to fill those staffing needs as efficiently as possible. The “business” part is too often overlooked in the title of HR business partner; but they are the people who can actually help companies make better business decisions when it comes to recruitment.

2. Applying new policies and guidelines When a new policy affecting staff is introduced,

make your HR business partner the focal point for putting the new guidelines into practice, because they know best how to build the bridge between the written text and staff buy-in. They can really help everyone in your organization understand how the new policy is relevant to them. This applies particularly to new guidelines that have a direct effect on HR procedures, such as the selection process.

3. Learning opportunities Involving your HR business partners when you plan learning and training activities helps them understand what is required of your team (what they need to know), which in turn has an important effect on how staffing issues can be handled. When staff turn to HR to help them with performance or career related questions, the well-informed HR business partner can be a real support.

So calling all HR business partners: make sure everyone knows what you have to offer and that you get a seat at the table; which is what partnership is all about.


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Dr. Susan Doering

London, UK

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