#3 Ask Me Anything: Enhancing Contribution

downloadAs an individual understanding roles in an initial career phase, I’d like to have more understanding on how does an HRBP work with teams from domains not necessarily pertaining to talent alone, for instance how is a HRBP able to contribute to a risk management team?

I am glad you asked. The life of an HRBP supporting sales, manufacturing, technology, financial institutions all look very different. While the basics stay the same, the challenges in each industry vary widely. Here are three recommendations:

  1. Learn their job: The most common advice you will receive as an HR Business Partner or in general as an HR professional, is get to know the business. While this is the best advice out there (I am guilty of parroting the same), it is also sometimes impractical. You will rarely know the job of a risk manager better than she does, and to expect to know the entire business, the competition, the market as well as the CEO is a monumental task. Hence, I will tweak the advice ever so slightly.

My recommendation is to begin by skimming the surface and then topping it up every day. Start with the basics – read the role description, sit with them for a day or half, attend staff meetings and read everything you can lay your hands on. Don’t spend all your time in understanding everything they do. Skim the surface and then every single day add to the repository. Accept the fact that there will be gaps in understanding and you may take a year or more to understand it all. I have been supporting technology teams my entire career, yet there are days when everything said in the staff meeting flies over my head. I can be an effective HRBP and not know everything, but I can’t be effective if I know nothing. Find your own balance.

  1. Cheat a little: Find other HRBPs who support similar functions and make them your best friend. Find out about interventions they have done, check for relevance and then try it out for yourself. Collaboration is your friend. You will realize that business needs within the same domain are not very different. For e.g. ML engineers across companies face more or less similar challenges.
  1. Address universal needs with some tweaks: And then again, the world isn’t all that unique. There are challenges businesses will face no matter the field. People will leave, managers can get better, hiring needs to be quicker, people don’t feel recognized – the list is endless. As an HR professional, you will realize that while businesses differ vastly, people do not. Figure how you can address these universal needs. You will need to tweak some gears here and there but the overall machinery will still work.

Helpful? Let me know.

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