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10 key skills for HR business partners to drive organizational imperatives

Elevating Business HR to Exponential HR

Business leaders are turning to HR business partners to address the present-day work challenges that are affecting organizations. Explore the 10 key attributes that separate HR business partners that are successfully and exponentially impacting their organizations.

What successful HR business partners know, have, and do

The world of work has changed. Some say it has changed forever. The impact of COVID-19, social justice issues, changing worker expectations, and the fast pace of the changing technology landscape has accelerated these changes. We outlined three phases that leaders would navigate in their organizations through these challenging times.1 The first is responding to the current situation and addressing urgent needs. The second phase is recovering, learning from the situation, and emerging stronger, and the third is thriving, preparing for, and shaping a new normal.

The business is asking HR to lead from the front through these phases. Specifically, business leaders are turning to the HR business partner to help address challenging issues, such as returning to the workplace; managing vaccine regulations; creating hybrid work teams; building inclusive and equitable teams, cultures, and practices; defining the future of work with humans and machines; elevating the worker experience; and supporting workers’ physical, mental, and emotional health. That’s a lot, yet it’s all very much aligned to the long-running focus for HR to drive strategic impact for the business and workforce. Some HR business partners are successfully leading their organizations through these challenges, while others find it challenging to shift from a focus on HR administrative and transaction work.

In this article, we will discuss what separates HR business partners that are successfully and exponentially impacting their organizations. We will define and outline three things they know, three things they have, and four actions they take that traditional HR business partners do not (see diagram below).2 We will apply these 10 attributes to our present-day work challenges and discuss how these capabilities enable HR business partners to have sustainable performance.

Read the full report to learn more

10 attributes: Elevating Business HR to Exponential


1 Erica Volini, Steve Hatfield, and Nicole Scoble-Williams, “From survive to thrive: The future of work in a post-pandemic world,” Deloitte, 2021.

2 Joanne Stephane and Gary Johnsen, “Business HR Academy: HR training for business impact,” 2021.

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