The future of HR: “Reports of the death of the HRBP are greatly exaggerated”

01 November 2019

As highlighted in our recent New world. New skills report, we all know that the world of work is changing: radically and quickly.

New technologies, organisational structures, and changes to how people work are all dramatically reshaping the mandate for HR. So much so, we often hear the HRBP is a role that soon won’t exist, potentially automated out of existence. Could this really be true, is the role of the HR business partner really under threat?

To better understand what the future may hold for the role of HR, we convened some roundtables featuring leaders and practitioners from different geographic markets and industries, for a series of discussions on this topic.

All our attendees agreed that the term HR business partner will mean something different. It’s not about simply evolving a job description but rather how the role becomes a broader strategic leadership role.

So what role will an HRBP have to play in the future? What skills will they need? And what will their career path look like?

We examined some of the key aspects and reflected on what these could mean in evolving and potentially radically different HR functions of the future:

Purpose Values and Culture

Organisations need a conscience - someone that can question deisions, shape the culture, and remind employees of the aspirations and behaviours that tie them together, which will be a key skill of HRBPs of the future.

Agile Decision Making

With products that allow organisations to easily automate judgment based advice, HR will need the skills to setup, review, and intervene with the algorithms which drive these systems.

Future Workforce Planning

HRBPs need to help business leaders navigate new talent tools and available data to predict and create the workforce of the future now.

Upskilling

HRBPs will have a huge role to play in continously upskilling the current workfoce to meet tomorrow's demands, providing critical input into scenario planning and the transition process.

Leadership Development

The future workforce will look drastically different and so will our leaders. Partnering with the business, HR will need to help set out the future leadership vision and development frameworks.

Driving Employee Experience

HR need to meet the high employee demands on dynamic digitally enabled careers, combined with inclusive human and cultural social experiences.

 

Our recent Secure your future people experience report also sees the HRBP as a role that will add real value to the workplace of the future. It details the five actions needed to build a nurturing people experience, with HR at the heart of this change. HRBPs need to be a force of positive disruption to carve a new path and type of partnership with the business.

It appears far from the role being on the way out, there's an increasingly sophisticated set of requirements for partnering with business leaders around people.

The question for all HRBPs should be: given the evolution of the role what are you doing to develop the skills needed to meet these new workforce priorities?

Chris Murray

Chris Murray | Partner, Global HR Transformation and Technology Consulting leader
Profile | Email | ​+44 (0)7753 809483

More articles by Chris Murray

 
Harriet Newlyn

Harriet Newlyn | Director, HRM
Profile | Email | +44 (0)7711 561977

More articles by Harriet Newlyn

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