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Bersin by Deloitte: Business Fluency and Consulting Agility Top the List of Human Resources Business Partner Capabilities Linked to Stronger Business Outcome

New Bersin Blueprints highlight keys to high-performing HR business partners and effective learning and development strategies

OAKLAND, Calif., Dec. 16, 2015 — Organizations that develop business fluency and consulting agility in their HR business partners, enabling them to work on talent challenges side-by-side with peer business leaders, are more likely to achieve positive business outcomes, including innovation and efficiency, according to new research from Bersin by Deloitte.  Summarized in a brief, the research appears in a new Bersin Blueprint that also provides information on the skills, roles and responsibilities effective HR business partners (HRBPs) need to drive business value.

The HRBP blueprint, “Build Capability in HR Business Partners and Business HR,” includes a new model for the HR business partner role that is based on Bersin by Deloitte research. This new model calls for upgrading the capabilities of HR business partners to help them become trusted advisors to the business. The blueprint is available through a BersinOne membership. Bersin Blueprints are designed to clarify a key business challenge and provide practical research-based information, diagnostic tools, case studies, services and a six-stage process to help HR professionals directly address that challenge. Another new Bersin Blueprint, “Align L&D to the Rest of the Organization,” shows how organizations can align learning and development strategies with business objectives to engage more employees, save time and money, and deliver improved business results.   

“With Bersin Blueprints, our goal is not only to show HR professionals what success looks like, but to provide practical research-based resources and guidance to address their most pressing challenges,” said David Mallon, vice president and head of research, Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP. “For example, our research shows that when compared to companies with low-performing HR functions, organizations that embed HR in the business adapt to market changes 2.5 times faster, create new products and services 2.4 times faster, and are twice as efficient in improving processes and keeping costs low. The new Bersin Blueprint explains that HR business partners are the mechanisms that allow HR teams and management to stay aligned and ultimately drive such business value.”

To help organizations navigate the economic, technological and social forces changing today’s global workplace and support business performance objectives, HR business partners need to advance their knowledge and capabilities, according to the research-based Bersin Blueprint. Among the desirable skills and capabilities HR business partners should acquire are:

  • Consulting agility, which includes data analytics skills and the ability to align HR solutions with business imperatives;
  • Business fluency, or the ability to combine financial acumen and operations knowledge with HR expertise and an understanding of the talent landscape;
  • Visionary leadership that effectively advances ideas that promote a positive culture within the organization; and
  • Emerging capabilities, which include the ability to anticipate the future and keep pace with the radically changing nature of work by harnessing emerging opportunities, and working adeptly with a multigenerational and inclusive workforce.  

“Our experience over countless HR transformation initiatives has pointed to HR capabilities as the ‘last mile’ of change,” said Erica Volini, U.S. HR transformation leader, Deloitte Consulting LLP. “While transformation efforts in the past have focused on creating capacity for the HR business partner to focus on strategic work, the emphasis on ensuring that those professionals have the requisite capabilities and competencies is what has been lacking. By identifying the core skills needed for business partners to operate in the new world of work, we can maximize their effectiveness and, more importantly, their contribution to business results. That is when transformation can be fully achieved.”

Research findings in another new Bersin Blueprint, “Align L&D to the Rest of the Organization,” shows that many organizations are turning with more urgency to their learning and development (L&D) organizations to build the skills they need from within. The report points out that high-impact learning organizations – those with L&D practices that drive consistent and verifiable business results – are adopting new technologies, consolidating offerings, and carefully balancing centralization and distribution of learning activities.

Additional recently published Bersin Blueprints include:

  • “Develop a Comprehensive Plan for Organizational Change,” which provides tools, guidance and resources to manage and execute organizational change to meet desired outcomes.  
  • “Improve Recruiter and Hiring Manager Relationships,” which addresses the challenge of quickly sourcing talent with the skills most needed by an organization.  
  • “Invest in Continuous Learning,” which speaks to the challenge of engaging employees with development opportunities by encouraging learning leaders to rethink everything from the learning methods used, to the content delivered and the technology used to deliver it.  
  • “Build Organizational Capabilities to Support a Learning Measurement Strategy,” which focuses on the challenge of defining the right metrics to demonstrate the value of learning, while also leveraging that data to determine how to better serve learners.  

To learn more about the role of HR Business Partners, register to join David Mallon for his online webinar, “The New HR Business Partner: Beyond Generalist to Trusted Advisor,” at 2 p.m. ET/19:00 GMT on Jan. 28, 2016.

Those interested in learning more about a Bersin by Deloitte membership may email USBersinServiceClient@deloitte.com or call +1 510 251 4400.  

About Bersin by Deloitte

Bersin by Deloitte delivers research-based people strategies designed to help leaders and their organizations deliver exceptional business performance. The Bersin by Deloitte membership gives Fortune 1000, Global 2000 HR professionals and managers in organizations of all sizes around the world  the information, action-focused tools and performance support materials they need to prioritize, design and implement leading practice solutions, benchmark against others, develop their staff, and select and implement systems. A piece of Bersin by Deloitte research is downloaded on average approximately every minute during the business day. More than 5,000 organizations worldwide use our research and consulting to guide their HR, talent, and learning strategies. For more information, please visit http://www.bersin.com.

As used in this document, "Deloitte" means Deloitte Consulting LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please see http://www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.