Build the Right HR Business Partner Model for Your Organization

A playbook for HR leaders

Learn how to find the right business partners, pair them with the right leaders, ensure they advance organizational strategy, and are protected from transactional work.

hr business partner model

To realize the full potential of your business partner model, you have to do more than just make changes to your organizational structure.

This publication outlines six questions you should ask to build—or strengthen—your model, as well as guidance on how to answer each question and case profiles of organizations that have built their own highly effective models.

The business partner model often doesn't live up to its potential

While most progressive organizations are making significant investments in their HR business partner model, many struggle to receive a full return on their investment.

Often, organizations find that their business partners aren't meaningfully advancing organizational strategy. In other words, they are business partners "in name only."

It's not enough to fix the underlying organizational structure

When the business partner model falls short, it can be tempting to try to solve the problem by changing the HR organizational chart. But the good news and bad news is: building a highly effective business partner model involves more than moving boxes on an organizational chart.

This is because if you focus only on changing your organizational structure, you will fail to address the underlying reasons why business partner models often don't live up to their potential: business partners have unclear priorities, mismatched skills, and insufficient support.

The remainder of this study outlines six key questions HR leaders should answer to custom-fit the business partner model to their organization. Also included are four case profiles of organizations that have answered these questions and built their own effective models.

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