Succero Executive Resources Limited

Kader Arcade, 3rd Floor
33 Mirpur Road, Science Laboratory
Dhanmondi, Dhaka 1209, Bangladesh

Hotline: +8801770009944
Phone: +880 2 44612152, +880 2 44612153
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British Council

HR as Strategic Business Partner:
A challenge for 21st century

The main challenge of 21st century HR is to face the changes which are occurred rapidly. Any one of the globe now cannot sustain in business or achieve individual and organizational objectives without facing the changes strategically and timely as we all are leaving in global completive environment.  It is common that we like to see the changes, but we do not change ourselves rather most of us resist the changes which are must for sustainable business.. We have to change our mindset and to get out of this traditional circle. In this competitive environment, in all the companies, enterprises either in public or private, small or large role of HR should be as business partner and the owner also to be recognize HR as business partner because Human Resources or People are the most valuable resources of any organization. Human Resources drive all other resources. So, HR should be in driving seat to face the changes and challenges of 21st century. But question is how the HR can be the business partner?


We may find the answers from the books and research of the David Ulrich who is not an ordinary author and he has been recognized as “Father of Modern Human Resources”. It is proved by that he deserve this recognition considering the contributions he has accorded the Human Resources field. Dev in his HR Model identified the key roles of HR. The Dev Ulrich’s Model was revolutionary in the world when first introduced in 1996 because it emphasised at people and role first and foremost and still practiced to face the 21st century challenge. Dev identified the four key strategic role of HR, which are (i) HR as Strategic Partner, (ii) Change Agent, (iii) Administrative Expert and ( iv) Employee Champion. Among the key four roles Dev identified HR as Strategic Business Partner in the top of the list. The key functions of HR as strategic business partner is mentioned below:

  • Develop & align strategies with HR.
  • Assist line mangers in solving the issues related to organization, people & change.
  • Contribute to management team’s strategic decision making.
  • Mange the workforce development strategically.
  • Encourage and foster systems approach and customer focus.
  • Shares goals and objectives of HR and of the internal clients
  • Leads HR processes of internal clients
  • Always proactively collects information, identify problems and helps to solve the problems

As HR Business partner, HR should communicate with “Internal Customers” i.e. with the people directly connected with the organization. The HR business partner is the HR point of contact. Most of the internal customers of an organization used to communicate with Human Resources Department. The HR business partner gives feedback to internal customers about the quality of their experience, identifies top talents within the organization, share goals with the employees to ensure the goals are implemented properly, and helps promote overall productivity and congruence in the workplace. As strategic business partner HR should be aligned with the business objectives in different stages and phases.

The challenges of HR and the Reasons of failure of HR Business Partners:

Although it is commonly recognize the key role of HR is as business partner, it cannot be established or failed in many countries, especially in the countries like Bangladesh. The reasons may be  why can’t HR deliver what is expected from them? While business leaders are more focused towards analyzing data to forecast market trends and setting objectives for the business yet many HR professionals cannot tell their own Key Performance Indicator (KPI) let alone cannot act as HR business partner. Some of the reasons of deliver poor service by HR are observed as mentioned below

  • Lack of business acumen
  • Poor coordination between HR and business strategy
  • Lack of proper implementation and integration of policies and processes
  • Lack of understanding about self role
  • Lack of Communication skill an fail to communicate effectively with senior management,  and line managers
  • Poor service delivery of basic HR operations
  • Minimal or non- use of HR analytics
  • Not recognizing HR as strategic business partner by the top management/ owners

To overcome this situation and to make HR as HR business partners, HR needs to have following competencies to earn their respect.

  • Understanding of the Business: that includes products and services, competitors, market trend, challenges, business models, business strategies, economic environment, context of the business and processes of product and service delivery.
  • Excellent Understanding of HR Practices: that includes some project management skills.
  • Communication and interpersonal skill
  • Behavioural Competence: with an ability to meet challenges, critical and forward thinking, listening and a strong desire for success.
  • HR should deliver value to different  stakeholders and interested parties
  • HR should establish talent management and leadership within organization.
  • HR will become more technologically efficient and need to be more analytically efficient.
  • To be strategic business partners, HR professionals will have to master the right competencies.
  • Need to understand that HR is not an administrative job in 21st century.

Above all the employer and top management should realize that people is the most valuable asset of the organization and Human Resources  department is the main driving force who can facilitate to ensure desired service delivery from other cross functional departments. Thus HR in Bangladesh can face the challenges of 21st century , mange the changes, sustain and shall be able to sustain  in global completive environment. 


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