One HRBP Success Factor that Is Underappreciated and Misunderstood

Gary A. DePaul, PhD (he/him/his)
6 min readDec 12, 2021
The author owns the image publishing rights

The 2022 HRBP Report summarizes the findings from a qualitative study that examines how eighteen HRBPs describe:

  • Their role
  • Their needed skills and qualities
  • HRBP challenges
  • Seven HRBP success factors

The following image is a high-level infographic showing the HRBP Seven Success Factors. I’ve highlighted the second one, Learn the Business, as the focus of this week’s newsletter.

Word of Caution: Some might dismiss the seven factors as obvious or easily understood. However, the crucial meaning and lessons learned are in the details, as described by the interviewees of this report. Stating this differently: what may be perceived as common sense isn’t commonly practiced!

Image created by the author


HRBP: Human Resource Business Partner


BP: Business Partner (those whom HRBPs support and collaborate with)

Success factor 2: Learn the Business

Image of a professional in a library reading books
The author owns the image publishing rights

When becoming an HRBP, you need to know something about human resources, which may be why hiring managers tend to recruit experienced HR professionals for their open HRBP positions.

While knowing HR is necessary, it isn’t sufficient to effectively work with BPs. HRBPs need to develop a business perspective, or as one interviewee stated, they need to develop a business lens with an employee viewpoint.

In The 2022 HRBP Report, One interviewee described learning the business this way:

HRBPs should spend more time learning the business rather than learning HR. Here’s why: you can’t learn too much about the business. Each