HRBPs are strategic partners to business and act as the primary contact
for the human capital department. This strategic role necessitates that they
share, advocate and facilitate the implementation of HR and strategic business
objectives. HRBPs bridge the gaps that exist between plans and implementation
with the use of established people networks. They also act as change agents,
spearheading change management initiatives in organisations and provide
guidance through coaching leaders, line managers and employees to prepare them
to suitably function in their portfolios.
One of the most visible and important actions of HRBPs in this respect
is acting as a bridge between business and employees. In other words, HRBPs
simultaneously champion the interests of both employees and business and work
toward creating a symbiotic relationship within the organisation. To be
effective in delivering on these, HRBPs need to be knowledgeable and understand
the business and its strategic relevance; remain focused on relevant and
significant matters such as what drives the bottom line, what keeps business
leaders and managers up at night so they can offer solutions to leverage the
challenges; and facilitate in aligning strategy to people capacity.
Disruptions and change are not new to the business landscape, however,
the depth and reach of the impact of COVID-19 is astronomical. Hence it calls
for HRBPs to be more mindful, agile, and sympathetic in how to deliver on these
expectations. HRBPs need to be intrapreneurial (a manager within a company who
promotes innovative ways of working) leaders, that is, self-motivated,
proactive, and action-oriented, individuals who take the initiative to pursue
innovative approaches to service delivery. More now than ever, HRBPs need to
coach leaders and managers to keep employees safe, secure, hopeful, motivated
HRBPs need to move closer to their people, provide clear directions and
expectations and be factual yet empathetic when consulting business and people.
It cannot be emphasised how vital communication is during this time. Therefore,
having regular and relevant check-ins with team members, managers, and leaders
to enhance connectedness, which strengthens relationships and promotes trust is
of vital importance.
Mental health is oftentimes overlooked in the grand scheme of employee
wellness, hence HRBPs ought to facilitate and promote health and ensure that
the mental and overall health of their clients are optimal and be sensitive to
the needs of those who need remedial interventions.
Some organisations within certain sectors have had to restructure and
retrench people because of the pandemic. These efforts to try and keep business
afloat has led to unemployment in large numbers. Encouraging self-development
in acquiring new skills, especially cross-training, to employees will help them
to remain employable and marketable. COVID-19 has changed the way in which we
work and has highlighted severe gaps in many instances within our differing
categorisations and is forcing us to rethink our approaches to work,
relationships and health.
It is important therefore for HRBPs to provide safe platforms for
stakeholders to have pertinent and sometimes uncomfortable conversations about
how things will be going forward. HRBPs need to take the lead in guiding the
conversations that will uncover how best people and business remain efficient,
effective, and sustainable as we navigate this unpredictable new business