HR 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. To improve talent management, many organizations have adopted the HR Business Partner (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.

Top HRBP Challenges

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

Felipe Straub
Chief Human Resources Officer

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

Remove 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%

HRBP Career Diagnostic

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

  • Leading a talent review
  • Creating a talent dashboard
  • Coaching individual line managers
  • Managing employee performance issues

The Product

Use our resources to improve the effectiveness of your HRBPs or develop yourself as a business partner.

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.

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

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.

Decision-Making Tools


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.

Unlock Tools

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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?

Recent Blog Posts

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.

“CEB's HR Business Partner Portal helps us look across traditional HR functional boundaries in areas like employee engagement.”

Senior Vice President, HR
HCA Inc.