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A day in the life of a…HR Business Partner


What skills do you think are essential to do your role?

  • Tertiary qualifications in Human Resources/Employee Relations, and previous experience working across operational and corporate work environments.
  • Commercial acumen with Project Management experience and the ability to work across a variety of organisational structures.
  • Strong experience in stakeholder management, understanding the importance of managing relationships, business planning and commercial acumen.
  • Knowledge of contemporary ‘best practice’ principles and how to apply these in a manner which is relevant and appropriate for the business.
  • ‘People skills’; the ability to effectively communicate (written and verbal) with a range of levels and personalities, to effectively engage, coach and influence high level business leaders from a range of disciplines.
  • Be flexible, detail orientated, able to multi-task and work autonomously.

What does a typical day in the office look like? (tasks, responsibilities etc.)

  • I work as an HR business partner and am responsible for project work across a range of disciplines including: leadership coaching and development, Performance Management, Organisational Design, Diversity, Change Management, Policy/Procedure reviews, Remuneration and Benefits, and L&D. Every day is different. I am office based and work across multiple locations and client groups, hence effective planning is imperative.
  • I usually start the day by checking my calendar, responding to or prioritising emails to follow up on outstanding actions, and prepare for upcoming work and respective meetings. I touch base with the broader HR team and key clients to get a ‘sense check’ of workloads, schedules and priorities to reduce any risk of conflicts and mitigate any challenges as soon as possible.

What is the most rewarding aspect of the job?

  • Educating leaders and seeing ‘the penny drop’ when they realise the commercial value of engaging the HR function in business strategy.
  • Also, having a senior leader make an effort to seek me out and congratulate me for a job well done, or recognise the completion of a difficult project.

 What the most challenging or difficult aspect of your role?

  • Trying to influence senior, technical SME’s to understand the importance, commercial value and risk mitigation role that the HR role performs in a business.

 What advice would you give to someone looking to move into a similar role?

  • Understand what your strengths. Pin point areas which you need development and ask for work/experiences which will help you to develop in those areas. Also get as much generalist experience as you can - be proactive, and delivery orientated. Don’t wait for instructions or for a manager to delegate work to you - seek out work, and ask for opportunities to broaden your skill base where you can add qualitative value for the business. Always aim to over deliver where possible.
  • Understand the key drivers of the HR function, get the basics right first and build a strong technical foundation.
  • Step away from your desk and get out into the workplace to get to know the operational functions of the business and your client groups. Just being seen in work areas will quickly help you to build rapport and respect within teams, gain valuable information about business performance and employee feedback.
  • Never approach a situation unprepared, under resourced or undervalued.
  • Everyone makes mistakes, own it, understand it and learn from it.
  • Communication is key. Keep your manager and clients informed. It may be a quick phone call, regular scheduled meetings, casual catch ups over coffee, or even a quick text. Always give managers bad news early, accompanied by recommended solutions.
  • Perfect your ‘elevator pitch’ for that prime opportunity when you have a short period of time to engage with or influence a business leader.

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