Human Resources Business Partner

The Role of HRBPs as
Strategic Partners to the Line

Failure to Address
a Vital Business Need

CEOs recognize that human capital is the key driver of corporate success, providing the core of operational excellence, innovation, and customer relationships. To improve talent management, many organizations have adopted the HRBP model to provide more strategic support to line leaders and have more impact and influence on the business.

However, while three-fourths of CHROs expect their HRBPs to be strategic partners to the line, less than 20% of line leaders say that’s happening.

We had some experience, but really we needed to be much more professional in our approach.

Felipe Straub
Chief Human Resources Officer

Top HRBP Challenges

Organizations have invested in developing HRBP competencies, but individual attributes are only half the picture. Four organizational barriers inhibit the strategic effectiveness of even the most capable HRBPs:

  1. Application Barrier—Lack of clarity on how to apply competencies in day-to-day work
  2. Partnership Barrier—Being tasked to provide transactional support rather than strategic insight
  3. Functional Barrier—Tensions among functional groups that inhibit collaboration within HR
  4. Enterprise Barrier—Lack of coordination with functional partners outside of HR

The most successful HRBPs know the business, think about the needs of the business, and identify where there are opportunities for HR to offer strategic value.

Patrice Matejka
Director of HRBPs, Corporate Compensation, and Talent Acquisition
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

The Challenge of
HRBP Effectiveness

To improve HRBP strategic effectiveness, organizations must evolve HRBP competencies and remove organizational barriers.

Removing the Barriers
to Effective HRBP Teams

Companies that build high-performing HRBPs improve employee performance by up to 22%, employee retention by up to 24%, revenue by up to 7%, and profit by up to 9%.

To do so, the best companies focus on ensuring their HRBPs provide direct support in four key areas:

  1. Developing strategic capabilities
  2. Performing everyday job activities
  3. "Getting smart" on HR trends and practices
  4. Managing career growth
The Most Effective HRBPs Can Boost:
Employee Performance by 22%
Employee Retention by 24%
Revenue Growth by 7%
Profit Growth by 9%

The Year Ahead
HRBP Success in 2017

As they strive to progress in 2017, many HRBPs are struggling to juggle their expanding professional responsibilities and their aspirational personal interests. Join us and your peers in discussing the results of our “Future of the HRBP Role” survey and:

  • Hear the key trends confronting HRBPs and their HR functions in 2017
  • Discuss how to advance your professional priorities and personal development
  • Learn directly from your peers on key opportunities for influence and growth

HRBP Career Diagnostic

This evaluation tool helps your HRBPs master the activities that are core to their success.

The Product

CEB Ignition™ Diagnostic
for HR Functions

Use CEB Ignition™ diagnostics for HR functions to assess your progress in critical activities, including workforce strategy, recruiting, L&D, and total rewards. The output enables you to create detailed action plans for moving to the next level of business impact.

Take our sample diagnostic to learn where to start today.

Guidance for

CEB builds high-performing HRBPs by providing direct support in three key areas: enabling personal growth, working effectively across the HR suite, and supporting leaders and line partners.

Talent Assessment
Training Services

Through our training services, HRBPs can acquire the HR skills needed to deliver real business benefits. Learn how to successfully apply the world’s best personality and ability assessments. Develop the HR skills required to implement best-practice talent management within your organization and ensure quantifiable business results.

Meet the Experts

Meet the team behind our HRBP resources.

Jean Martin

Talent Solutions Architect

Read Biography

Brian Kropp

Practice Leader, Human Resources Practice

Read Biography

Aaron McEwan

Principal Advisor, Human Resources Practice

Read Biography

Success Stories

Praxair - Laura Garza - How has CEB brought value to you and your team?
McCormick & Company - Eric Barger - Can you give an example of a CEB resource you’ve used to help achieve a business goal?
Asurion - Vijay Velamoor - How have you used your CEB membership to transform your department?

CEB's HR Business Partner Portal connects our business-facing HR professionals with those in other industries and helps us look across traditional HR functional boundaries in areas like employee engagement.

Senior Vice President, HR
HCA Inc.

Decision-Making Resources


HRBP Individual Development Plans

The individual development plan (IDP) enables HRBPs and their managers to articulate a customized development strategy for growth within the organization.


HRBP Competency Workbook

This guide demonstrates the impact of HRBP strategic effectiveness and helps HRBPs target individual development gaps and assist with creating and customizing their own IDPs.


Cross-Function Coordination Guide

This guide helps HRBPs learn about their business leader's aspirations, challenges, and working style in order to interact successfully.

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Case Studies

To a common definition of value to the HRBP role, UnitedHealth Group developed a certification process to set internal performance standards.

Sears overhauled the way HRBPs use data and now embeds analytics throughout the HRBP role to enable data-based decisions, not just reporting.

After Syngenta refocused its HRBPs on strategic impact, its cross-functional collaboration led to a complete revision of the company’s go-to-market strategy.

Featured Press

HR needs to be more focused on building competitive advantage through a more agile approach to talent management.

Rely on full-time 'talent management' professionals, who work in coordination with other parts of HR.

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