Learning & Development

The Top Strategic HR Skills: Business Fluency and Consulting Agility

According to new research from Bersin by Deloitte, organizations that develop business fluency and consulting agility in their HR business partners are more likely to achieve positive business outcomes, including innovation and efficiency. The research also highlights learning and development as a top priority.

Summarized in a brief, the research appears in a new Bersin Blueprint that also provides information on the skills, roles, and responsibilities effective HR business partners (HRBPs) need to drive business value.
The HRBP blueprint, “Build Capability in HR Business Partners and Business HR,” includes a new model for the HR business partner role that is based on Bersin by Deloitte research. This new model calls for upgrading the capabilities of HR business partners to help them become trusted advisors to the business.
Bersin Blueprints are designed to clarify a key business challenge and provide practical research-based information, diagnostic tools, case studies, services, and a six-stage process to help HR professionals directly address that challenge. Another new Bersin Blueprint, “Align L&D to the Rest of the Organization,” shows how organizations can align learning and development strategies with business objectives to engage more employees, save time and money, and deliver improved business results.
“With Bersin Blueprints, our goal is not only to show HR professionals what success looks like, but to provide practical research-based resources and guidance to address their most pressing challenges,” said David Mallon, vice president and head of research, Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Cnsulting LLP.
“For example, our research shows that when compared to companies with low-performing HR functions, organizations that embed HR in the business adapt to market changes 2.5 times faster, create new products and services 2.4 times faster, and are twice as efficient in improving processes and keeping costs low. The new Bersin Blueprint explains that HR business partners are the mechanisms that allow HR teams and management to stay aligned and ultimately drive such business value,” adds Mallon.
To help organizations navigate the economic, technological, and social forces changing today’s global workplace and support business performance objectives, HR business partners need to advance their knowledge and capabilities, according to the research-based Bersin Blueprint.
Among the desirable skills and capabilities HR business partners should acquire are:

  • Consulting agility, which includes data analytics skills and the ability to align HR solutions with business imperatives;
  • Business fluency, or the ability to combine financial acumen and operations knowledge with HR expertise and an understanding of the talent landscape;
  • Visionary leadership that effectively advances ideas that promote a positive culture within the organization; and
  • Emerging capabilities, which include the ability to anticipate the future and keep pace with the radically changing nature of work by harnessing emerging opportunities and working adeptly with a multigenerational and inclusive workforce.

“Our experience over countless HR transformation initiatives has pointed to HR capabilities as the ‘last mile’ of change,” said Erica Volini, U.S. HR transformation leader, Deloitte Consulting LLP.
Volini adds, “While transformation efforts in the past have focused on creating capacity for the HR business partner to focus on strategic work, the emphasis on ensuring that those professionals have the requisite capabilities and competencies is what has been lacking. By identifying the core skills needed for business partners to operate in the new world of work, we can maximize their effectiveness and, more importantly, their contribution to business results. That is when transformation can be fully achieved.”
Research findings in another new Bersin Blueprint, “Align L&D to the Rest of the Organization,” shows that many organizations are turning with more urgency to their learning and development (L&D) organizations to build the skills they need from within.
The report points out that high-impact learning organizations—those with L&D practices that drive consistent and verifiable business results—are adopting new technologies, consolidating offerings, and carefully balancing centralization and distribution of learning activities.
To learn more about Bersin Blueprints, please visit the Bersin website.

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