What Are HR Business Partner Roles And Responsibilities?

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 13 March 2023

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

There are several professions you can pursue in the sector of human resources, which aid in supporting a business and its employees. Some professionals, like HR business partners, collaborate with company employees outside of the HR department and offer their support for a range of projects and strategic planning procedures. Understanding what these professionals do can help you determine whether this is the ideal role for you. In this article, we define HR business partner roles and responsibilities, review their skills and knowledge, highlight their qualifications and examine how they vary from HR managers.

HR Business Partner Roles And Responsibilities

HR business partner roles and responsibilities primarily include ensuring that HR policies and processes are in line with the objectives and requirements of a firm. These professionals are human resources specialists who work with and support an organisation's executives and other leaders to develop HR strategies that aid in achieving organisational objectives. An HR business partner aids a company's top leadership instead of working alongside other HR professionals and they can even serve on an internal board of directors.

HR business partners create HR strategies and oversee an HR department's primary objectives in relation to the objectives of a company and its business leaders. Some other primary duties of these professionals include:

  • Collaborate with the HR team to analyse trends and analytics to create programmes, solutions and policies

  • Handle and resolve challenging issues relating to employee relations

  • Consult with line management and offer HR-related advice

  • Take part in the monitoring and assessment of training programmes to guarantee their success

  • Create contract conditions for promotions, transfers and new recruits

Related: The Functions And Departments Of HR: A Complete Guide

HR Business Partner Skills And Knowledge

HR business partners may share a variety of the same skills, strengths and professional knowledge, including:

Interpersonal communication

HR business partners interact with a variety of individuals, including business executives and members of the HR department. They may create presentations, take part in negotiations, and deal with challenging situations and disputes. Their roles may require them to speak with a wide range of audiences and people from different professional backgrounds. Interpersonal communication skills may assist HR business professionals to interact with other employees of the firm, learn from organisational leaders and contribute to the development of HR initiatives.

Related: What Is Interpersonal Communication?

Confidence in promoting transformation and growth

As an HR business partner, you may regularly suggest alternative approaches and recommend changes to the HR department's strategies to make them align with the primary goals of a firm. This means that you can benefit from being able to encourage development and transformation with assurance and guide other company professionals through various business changes. This entails recognising and defining upcoming changes so you can help develop a strategy to guarantee that these changes do not significantly disrupt employees and the company.

Ability to use digital tools

HR business partners can make use of several software programmes and digital tools to develop strategies and share their ideas and innovations with company executives. This role requires professionals to be knowledgeable about business decisions, support systems and data visualisation mechanisms. To share ideas with their colleagues, these individuals may also use the help of online communities and programmes.

Related: Computer Skills: Definition And Example

Cultural awareness and competency

Cultural awareness and competency can be particularly beneficial for an HR business partner, especially if they work for a multinational company. It is crucial for these professionals to be familiar with compensation standards, business procedures and labour laws in each location in which a firm conducts business. This enables them to ensure that the systems they instal comply with cultural norms and local or international requirements, and can assist them in assessing the effectiveness of HR in each location while taking into consideration the cultural contexts and circumstances.

Related: What Is A Diverse Workplace? (Definition And Benefits)

Ability to recognise leaders and promote professional development

HR business partners may benefit from their ability to recognise leaders and promote employee development to help create and maintain a strong leadership team. This may also involve being able to recognise external prospects for leadership jobs if they become available to ensure that they swiftly identify capable individuals to add to the team. HR business partners may be able to determine whether a candidate's credentials and experience suit the organisation and are in line with its objectives.

Networking skills

Employers may require you to possess networking skills if you are interested in working in HR. It is crucial to be able to network with professionals from a variety of backgrounds and areas of expertise, as this position may require communication with a range of executives and other members of an organisation's leadership and executive team. Networking skills can also help you build a roster of business contacts outside a company, some of whom may become prospective candidates and contribute to the success of a firm.

Related: 9 Effective Business Networking Tips For Young Professionals

Project management skills

As you may routinely work alongside company leaders and executives in this role, you might be in charge of several project management-related duties as an HR business partner. These obligations involve managing stakeholder expectations, creating a project scope statement and addressing professional audiences of different sizes. Understanding a project manager's position and addressing responsibilities that relate to the position can help you enhance existing HR initiatives and add long-term value to a firm.

Related: 19 Essential Project Management Skills To Master

HR Business Partner Qualifications

While the qualifications required to work as an HR business partner might differ depending on your prospective employer, they typically include:

  • Post-secondary degree: Employers may require you to hold a post-secondary degree in a related field, such as a bachelor's or master's degree, to be an HR business partner. You can pursue a bachelor's degree in a variety of fields, but you might find it useful to get a master's degree in human resource management or a closely related subject.

  • HR experience: Employers may insist on selecting candidates having several years of HR experience as an HR business partner's role is a leadership position and they may want to make sure that candidates are familiar with the norms, standards and processes inside an HR department. Consider applying for an internship or an entry-level job if you have limited experience in this field so you can start developing your resume.

  • Core competencies: Employers may seek skilled professionals for this role and may require individuals to possess various core competencies related to the position and the overall field of HR. You can pursue professional training or enrol in continuing education courses to develop specific skills, or meet with an experienced professional to evaluate your current abilities.

Related: How To Write A Human Resources Resume (With Examples)

HR Business Partner Vs. HR Manager

While both HR business partners and HR managers play significant roles in the overall performance of the HR department, their roles differ. The following are some of the primary differences between the two positions:


An HR manager oversees the entire department and develops policies for other HR specialists to follow or implement. Besides enforcing HR policies, they may also be in charge of a number of processes, including payroll, system administration, recruiting, hiring and onboarding. An HR business partner is not a member of the administrative team and is typically more concerned with generating strategies for the HR division than with establishing rules and regulations. These experts work together with business leaders and the HR division to develop effective initiatives that can benefit the entire organisation.

Related: 13 Important HR Manager Roles (With Job Duties and Tips)

Training and specialisation

Most employers require HR professionals to hold a bachelor's degree, so HR business partners and HR managers may hold similar academic credentials. Aspirants for both roles may pursue a bachelor's degree in business administration or psychology. Despite having a bachelor's degree, professionals in each of these roles may also pursue different types of professional training courses and certification programmes.

As HR managers are generalists who handle a range of procedures and systems, they may choose an internship or an entry-level position as an HR assistant to get practical experience. Alternatively, HR business partners are experts who may acquire training and professional experience to get them ready for the duties of their position. Compared to HR managers, they may have a more distinct focus and training that can enable them to work with business professionals outside of the HR department and develop long-term initiatives.

Explore more articles