Business partner findings are not evidence of failure

I have just read with interest your recent article on business partnering (‘UK ‘lacks quality business partners’, Personnel Today 23 September, pictured right) in which the research we conducted at Roffey Park Institute has again been heralded as the start of a backlash against the HR business partner model.

Just to set the record straight, Roffey Park’s Management Agenda 2008 published research showing that, of the managers who had HR business partners in their organisation, 46% said it was successful, 26% said it was ineffective, while the remaining 27% either did not know or felt it was too early to tell.

As a consequence, we would not want readers to assume that those who did not say it was successful were all suggesting the model was failing. In fact, further analysis of the comments from those who perceived it as ineffective indicate that the current failings may be more due to poor implementation of the model, rather than the fault of the model itself.

To pursue this vital question further, we are in the middle of conducting research with a wide cross section of UK organisations to understand what makes the implementation of the HR business partner model more or less successful in practice.

Jo Hennessy, director of research, Roffey Park Institute

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