Successful HRBPs Seek Awareness

Gary A. DePaul, PhD (he/him/his)
4 min readMar 26, 2022
HRBP talking with a BP
Author owns photograph publishing rights

If you feel stuck, underappreciated by your business partners (BPs), and cannot figure out what to do to keep earning your seat at the strategy table, then seek awareness. Successful HRBPs actively expose their blind spots, discover their ineffective habits, and learn what they can do differently to collaborate and support their BPs.

How do you do this? First, forget the annual performance review. Relying on formal feedback systems supplies limited learning. Instead, take charge of your growth and welcome vulnerable conversations.

As one interviewee from the 2022 HRBP report stated:

“Engage an executive coach or a mentor outside of your immediate span of influence.”

How to start

Let your BPs and colleagues know that you are working on strengthening your HRBP skills. Figure out one or two skills you want to develop. If you need help, download the 2022 HRBP Report. On page 10, you’ll find a list of crucial HRBP skills identified by HRBPs. If that doesn’t help, ask peers and more experienced HRBPs what you should develop.

Once you identify two skills, take the time to develop them. You could start by studying books about performance consulting.

Feedforward: an alternate technique

Instead of asking for feedback on how well you are doing with the two skills, use a Marshall Goldsmith technique called Feedforward. Goldsmith developed this technique as an alternative to regular feedback. Professionals who used it have reported to Goldsmith that the technique is more positive than other forms of feedback.

  1. Pick one behavior that you would like to change. Change in this behavior should make a significant, positive difference in your life.
  2. Describe this behavior to someone. For example, you might say, “I want to be a better listener.”
  3. Ask for two suggestions that you could begin doing that might help you achieve a positive change in your selected behavior. If the person knows you, the person cannot give ANY feedback about your past behaviors. They only share ideas for the future.
  4. Listen attentively to the suggestions…