A reader sends me a job advert for an “HR Business Partner” which is worth fisking. For a start, what is a “business partner”? Is this a fancy title for someone working in what is often laughably called a support service?
Act as a Strategic Partner to 2 major portfolios with circa 200 staff
Act as a what? I think what they’re trying to say is they’ll provide HR services to about 200 staff working across 2 areas of operations.
Be a leader of HR Initiatives developed in conjunction with supporting Centre’s of Excellence
Provide HR services while taking into consideration other support services. “Centre’s of Excellence” indeed.
Opportunities for promotion and development within a company that is rapidly growing
Really? How high can an HR Business Partner rise?
As Senior HR Business Partner, you will be responsible for supporting, shaping and driving our ambitious organisational strategy through your business portfolios.
So now it’s a Senior HR Business Partner, so they weren’t lying about those promotions after all. And if this is the person’s role, it raises the question of what the managers of those business portfolios are doing. Isn’t it their job to implement company policy through their organisations?
You will act as a true strategic partner influencing and supporting leader’s decisions that have an impact on people, processes and business operations.
“True strategic partner”. Presumably there are false strategic partners on the loose in this outfit. Now meddling in leaders’ decisions might not be a bad idea from an HR perspective, but it has little to do with strategy.
We operate under a strong HR Framework, which encompasses being a strategic partner, a talent developer, employee advocate and an HR functional expert.
I can see what they’re trying to say here, but it’s written terribly. Who is we?
Across your two portfolios, Supply Chain and Quality you will be expected to;
Provide expertise to functional HR responsibilities. This includes ER, talent development, portfolio management and HR processes and procedures whilst managing day-to-day issues that arise.
Okay fine, but surely the candidate needs to know something about Supply Chain and Quality to properly deliver this service? How can they engage in talent management if they don’t know what the employees are doing? So far, there is nothing in the job description which even mentions the industry this job will be in. Presumably they don’t think it’s relevant.
Have a strong grasp on strategic consultation; ensuring leaders create and implement plans to improve organisational effectiveness and change management processes through our framework.
This is gobbledegook. Who are these “leaders”? Why not call them managers? And what change management processes are they on about? Are these leaders currently aware of them?
Drive the design of our current & future workforce that will ensure talent vitality and prosperity across your business portfolios.
You mean hire the right people?
You will be responsible for ensuring we have workforce plans in place that will enable us to achieve our growth aspirations and work with Centre of Excellence in the wider HR team to achieve optimal results.
And what, specifically, does that entail? What actual, measurable tasks is this person supposed to carry out? This is less a job description than a list of desirable outcomes.
Actively monitor, shape and drive a positive change through employee engagement. Coach leaders to develop their skills…
…and ensure you are advocating for diversity and inclusion within the workforce.
I’m sure the leaders will just love that.
You will be the SME and the leader’s advisor when it comes to dealing with discrimination, harassment, conflict and poor performance.
SME? Small-medium enterprise?
To set you up for success in this position we believe you need to have the following skills and experience;
A minimum of 5 years’ experience working in a Business Partner Position in a large complex organisation
Note there is no requirement to have any industry knowledge whatsoever.
Able to think critically and use diagnostic & Intervention tools to assess & achieve higher organisational performance
I assume they mean poring over diversity statistics and sending out endless employee surveys.
Strong business acumen, understands how businesses, teams and individuals operate
How are they going to do that if all they’ve ever done is HR?
Have an undergraduate degree in Human Resources Management / Organisational Development / Psychology or business related subjects
Quickly able to establish rapport and credibility amongst the business leaders
Despite having no knowledge of the operations or even the industry.
I’ve read this job description several times and I’m still none the wiser what the person is actually supposed to do. Will they be conducting interviews, writing procedures, drawing up organisation charts, creating skills matrices, developing training programmes, and participating in the operational decision-making? I have no idea, and nor does the person who wrote the advert. This is normal.