Thinking about becoming a Human Resources business partner in Singapore?
After a couple of fast-paced years on account of the pandemic, the market for Human Resource professionals remains steadily high. “We’re seeing an increasing number of organisations investing in hiring quality HR professionals who can navigate the virtual and hybrid work environment, and who can set up a workplace environment that fosters work-life balance” says Elise Tan, Robert Half Singapore division director.
Amongst these are Human Resource business partners (or HRBPs) – their job description is diverse, and they are versatile HR employees who work with organisational leaders to drive the organisation towards its goals.
What is a Human Resource business partner (or HRBP)?
A human resources business partner, or HRBP, is an HR employee who can oversee everything from hiring – including organising benefit packages – to employee relations, training, and team cohesiveness. More often than not, organisations hire a dedicated HRBP within their HR department, however, smaller organisations may choose to partner with a professional employer organisation, or PEO.
In addition to this, HRBPs will often align organisational objectives with its employees and management within specific business units. Apart from liaising across the HR department to provide value-added service to an organisation’s management and employees, HRBPs frequently maintain a level of literacy about the organisation. This includes its financial position, its culture, and its competition.
In other words, HRBPs act as all-rounders across many steps of the organisation. For this reason, their job descriptions are often tailored to suit each organisation specifically. Overall, however, job seekers with the qualities, skills, and qualifications outlined ahead can expect to transition into an HRBP role.
Job description for a Human Resource business partner
Most candidates who transition into an HRBP role have at least 5 years of experience (more senior HRBPs will have 10+ years) in various HR roles, demonstrating their versatility, with each role being progressively more senior than the one that preceded it.
Additionally, prior HR roles typically involved experience hiring employees and instilling equal opportunity employment (EEO), carrying out training and development programs, developing succession plans, handling performance management and investigations, dealing with employee benefits, and general employee relations.
Typically, candidates interviewing for HRBP roles hold a master’s degree in Human Resource Management (or similar) with additional certifications. These frequently include Professional HR (PHR) and Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certifications among others.
Like we mentioned earlier, an HRBP’s job description changes depending on the organisation. That said, unlike the HR manager, who has specific administrative duties towards their HR department, an HRBP’s responsibilities are a lot more employee focused. Additionally, it’s important to note that HRBPs do not have a department to oversee.
Typically, however, a candidate can expect the following responsibilities:
- Partnering with leadership team to develop succession plans and strategies
- Carrying out investigations in response to employee complaints
- Engaging in meaningful conflict resolution and handling employee behaviour
- Dealing with organisational administrative duties such as payroll administration, employee benefits, and leave requirements
- Aiding and advising leadership members on new hires and terminations
- Promoting diversity through hiring as equal opportunity employers (EEO).
How much does an HRBP make?
According to Robert Half Singapore’s 2023 Salary Guide, HRBP salaries start at $84,000 and reach up to $104,000, with a midpoint salary of $96,000.
What organisations look for when vetting HRBP candidates
Apart from meeting the requirements outlined in the job description, during the interview phase, organisations look for candidates who will fit their culture, while answering behavioural questions.
“A top-tier candidate will be able to answer these questions with a specificity that demonstrates the skills they’ve listed on their CV,” explains Elise. “Investing time in working out your strengths before the interview is the best thing you can do to up your odds.”
But what about candidates who don’t quite fit the role yet?
Transitioning into an HRBP role from another HR position in Singapore
Although there is a lot of HR talent in Singapore, the role from HR generalist to HRBP is straightforward, given enough time and patience.
A good place to start is really taking a long, hard look at your CV. A gap analysis can help you work out what skills and qualifications might be missing from your CV – which you can then invest time in working towards.
- Elise Tan
In addition to investing time in studying profiles of more senior HRBPs whose career trajectory appeals to you and is similar to yours, really work on the “business partnership” part of HRBP.
“Often candidates will come in with perfect HR resumes but they just don’t fit the job description as far as stakeholder management, critical thinking skills, and business acumen go.”
While it’s not necessary for candidates to show demonstrable experience of these different skills and qualities, it is important that candidates have an understanding of what they are and how the function within the organisation they’re interviewing at.
Need help finding an HRBP role? Robert Half Singapore, has an experienced team that can help you.