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The HR Business Partner Revolution

A recent article by Fast Company provided an excellent summary of how HR has evolved from an "outside" function that was only consulted with for big problems to an "embedded" strategic resource with much broader value. This evolution, or perhaps transformation, has been driven by multiple factors.

One of these factors is the escalating war for talent. As we continue to move towards a knowledge economy, we rely more and more on the skill sets and knowledge of our employees. How to best identify, train and motivate these individuals is the bread and butter for not only a great manager but also a great HR department or function within a business.

But an even more important factor is the creation of a role in HR known as the "Business Partner". This role brought the HR executive from an external relationship with a department to an internal relationship. It also allows the HR professional to be a strategic and proactive collaborator.

The article from Fast Company provides a few illustrative case studies from companies such as Square, Mattel and Equinox. What we see in each case study is how the HR Business Partner has a broad and strategic impact at each of these companies but in different ways that make sense given their different industries.

Other companies such as Intuit are also leaders in creating value from the HR Business Partner. And while this model has benefits it is not without complexities. HR professionals serving as a business partner must develop new and broader skills. They must operate at the "pace" of the business unit they are working with and understand the nuances of its business case. They will need to better understand the end customers, the competitors and the industry as a whole.

Overall, this transformation is creating many benefits for companies that adopt it. Read more details at

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