The credibility of HR Business Partners is always in flux. One way to drive consistent (and appreciative) partnership with your client groups is to prepare for your business leader meetings.

June 26, 2023

7 Topics HRBPs Should Prepare for Business Leader Meetings

HR Business Partners

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In today’s dynamic business landscape, HR Business Partners (HRBPs) play a crucial role in driving organizational success by aligning human resources strategies with business objectives. One of the key responsibilities of an HRBP is to engage in meaningful discussions and collaborations with business leaders. These interactions require careful preparation to ensure productive and impactful outcomes. In this article, I explore 7 essential topics HRBPs should prepare for business leader meetings.

7 essential topics HRBPs should prepare for business leader meetings

Understanding the Business

Before engaging with business leaders, HRBPs must gain a deep understanding of the organization’s strategic priorities, industry trends, and operational challenges. This knowledge equips HRBPs with valuable context, enabling them to provide relevant insights and strategic recommendations. By studying annual reports, industry publications, and business performance data, HRBPs can familiarize themselves with key business metrics, competitive landscape, and external factors that influence decision-making.

Understanding the Client Group

Business leaders appreciate when their HRBPs truly understand how their teams (the client group) fits in to the overall business strategy. An HRBP can begin researching how they are connected by interviewing previous or current members within the client group or asking around from others who may have had the role prior or who’s supported similar groups. Other ways to really get to know your client groups will be to perform job shadows, participate in ride-alongs and interviewing candidates for open roles within the teams.

Identify HR Alignment Opportunities

To maximize the value of HR interactions, HRBPs should proactively identify areas where HR strategies can align with business objectives. Analyze business goals, operational challenges and workforce requirements to identify potential gaps or opportunities for HR interventions. This may involve conducting internal surveys, reviewing performance metrics and gathering feedback from employees. By understanding the business landscape, HRBPs can propose HR initiatives that directly address the organization’s needs and contribute to its success.

Review Previous Meeting Outcomes

A thorough review of previous meeting outcomes is essential for HRBPs. By revisiting previous discussions and agreements, HRBPs can assess progress, track action items and identify any unresolved issues. This review provides valuable insights into the expectations of business leaders, enabling HRBPs to ensure continuity and follow-through on previous commitments. Additionally, it helps build credibility and trust with business leaders, as HRBPs demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of previous interactions. I love to use Microsoft OneNote to track all of my meetings and any To-Do’s that are added to my list.

Prepare Data-Driven Insights

I’m a big metrics nerd. And to support evidence-based decision-making, all of my HRBP friends should gather and analyze relevant HR data too. This may include workforce analytics, employee engagement surveys, turnover rates or performance metrics. By identifying trends, patterns and correlations within the data, HRBPs can generate insights that drive impactful discussions. Presenting these insights during meetings demonstrates the HRBP’s ability to leverage data and align HR strategies with business outcomes, fostering a culture of informed decision-making. Want to see some metrics dashboards? Head over to my HRBP Essentials Kit for some really impressive tools.

Anticipate Questions and Concerns

Forecasting business leader questions is a skill I didn’t have right away. I had to constantly ask myself “What is important to my business leader?” before all of my one on one’s. During meetings with business leaders, HRBPs should be prepared to address questions, concerns and objections. By anticipating potential queries based on the topic at hand, HRBPs can craft well-reasoned responses supported by data and best practices. Additionally, understanding business leaders’ priorities and concerns enables HRBPs to align messaging and proposals accordingly. Being well-prepared not only helps HRBPs confidently navigate discussions, but also reinforces their credibility as trusted advisors.

Collaborate with Other Stakeholders

Effective preparation extends beyond individual efforts. HRBPs should actively collaborate with relevant stakeholders before meetings with business leaders. Engage in discussions with HR colleagues, subject matter experts and other department leaders to gather diverse perspectives and insights. By involving key stakeholders, HRBPs can validate their proposed strategies, gain valuable feedback and enhance the overall quality of their recommendations. Collaboration also fosters cross-functional alignment and ensures a comprehensive approach to addressing business challenges.

Preparation is the key to successful interactions (and influence!) between HRBPs and business leaders. By understanding these 7 topics HRBPs should prepare for business leader meetings, HRBPs can elevate their role as strategic partners. Help me change the narrative of “Going to HR is like going to the principal’s office.” Proactive and thoughtful preparation not only strengthens HR’s credibility, but also enables us to provide valuable insights, align HR strategies with business objectives and drive positive organizational outcomes. By investing a little time and effort, HRBPs can create impactful engagements with business leaders, fostering productive and mutually beneficial partnerships.

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