Signal Strength: 2 Words Every HR Business Partner Should Think About

The word signal strength connotes imaginary such as phone, wi-fi or even geek-ness. How can such words be of any relevance to the HR business partnering activities? Absolutely everything. Let me explain.

Instead of a blissful Sunday breakfast at the nearby coffee shop, my friend and I were debating on the value HR Business Partner brings to business bottom line. We talked about the dynamic business environment, how it impacts organisational structure, how efficiency is gained from having HR specialists and centers of excellence, and finally how HR Business Partner navigates in this reality.

In the midst of our passionate argument, my friend's phone rang. It was his wife telling him that it is time to run errands. It's also time that we wrap up our lengthy debate. Before he left with a know-he-had-won smile, my friend concluded his argument with the following: No doubt HR Business Partner can bring business values. However, it is that signal strength that drives home that value. Signal strength, in his definition, refers to the frequency (signal) and issue relevance (strength) of how HR Business Partners engage line managers. In other words, not only does that engagement frequency needs to be regular, that frequent engagement needs to be impactful to elicit any positive reaction from line managers.

An article by Mercer on the HRBP roles is illuminating. This article advocates that HR Business Partner needs to own the business outcomes alongside business leaders. To do that, HR Business Partner ought to have a stand on both human capital and business issues, and be courageous in expressing that stand. To ensure such stand is substantiated and heard, HR Business Partner needs to ensure

  1. HR service delivery is of quality and consistency, and
  2. Fact-based business decision-making on human capital are made with data and analytics as basis.

In reflection, this Mercer article has illuminated on the "what": Areas where HR Business Partner needs to focus upon. Whereas my dear friend had shone the touch light on the "How": HR Business Partnering activities ought to be frequent and impactful.

No wonder my friend thought he had won our debate.

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