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5 Simple Concepts for Becoming a Better HR Business Partner

By | Allan Freed | Principal Consultant at The RBL Group

A good leader who wants to become better will be more effective. Likewise, in HR, continuing to identify and implement new skills is key to effectiveness. The RBL Group, in partnership with the University of Michigan Ross Executive Education and 19 HR associations, has just completed the 8th round of the HR Competency Study (HRCS) where 29,000 respondents allowed us to identify the HR competencies that deliver results.  

While the research results are informative and compelling, translating those results into action requires offering tips that are specific to HR professionals with the goal of moving from good to better. This article will coach you as an HR professional and help you unpack what the research means in practical terms.  

1. If your mindset is wrong, your skillset hardly matters.   

Let’s illustrate the point using a simplified example: Imagine you and a close friend are teachers in a high school and you’re both keen to maximise your impact. You believe that your job is to disseminate information and as a result you spend years concentrating on developing your presentation skillset and crafting content. Your close friend believes that their job is to facilitate learning and as a result spends years understanding what learning involves for students in a high school setting and embodying practices that enhance their experience. Both you and your close friend are finding solutions for the same problem but these approaches reflect a fundamental difference in mindset. Many HR Business Partners approach their job with a fundamentally flawed mindset. Like the teacher who thinks their job is to disseminate information, they mistakenly believe that their purpose is about advancing an HR agenda. It isn’t. The best HR Business Partners realise that HR isn’t about HR – it’s about contributing to business success.  

This is the first simple concept we learned from the most recent HR competency research. The most impactful HR Business Partners have a comprehensive understanding of the needs of external stakeholders and shape advice and practices to ensure promises made to them are consistently delivered.  

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