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  • Writer's pictureJon Orozco

From Paper-Pushers to a True HRBP (If You Let Them)

Updated: Mar 5

Your HR department is like a high-performance sports car. Sure, it can handle the daily commute, but it has much more potential. Too often, though, certified HR professionals – with their workforce strategy and organizational development expertise – find themselves stuck in neutral, overwhelmed by tasks that don't use their full capabilities.

Story Time:

I once worked with a fast-growing tech company where the Senior HR Manager, a true talent development guru, was drowning in new-hire paperwork. Meanwhile, employee turnover was skyrocketing, and no one had the bandwidth to analyze the root causes… a frustrating waste of talent on all fronts.

Understanding the Mismatch

To understand why this happens, we need to break down the typical workload of an HR professional:

  • Bucket 1: Administrative Essentials These foundational tasks keep the HR engine running smoothly (onboarding, file management, etc.). They're necessary but shouldn't dominate a skilled professional's day.

  • Bucket 2: Compliance & Policy Execution Staying on the right side of regulations and executing established policies are critical. However, well-designed processes and HR technology can streamline much of this work.

  • Bucket 3: Talent Development & Relationship Building Here's where HR shines, directly influencing employee growth and engagement. Sadly, many HR pros don't get enough focused time for impactful work like coaching managers or facilitating meaningful development programs.

  • Bucket 4: Strategic Business Partnership Here, HR transforms from a support function to a true driver of business success. Data-driven workforce planning, proactive collaboration on companywide initiatives, and championing organizational change become the focus… and this should be the ultimate goal for senior HR talent.

The Ideal Focus: The 60% Rule

For maximum impact, certified HR professionals (HRBPs, Senior HR Managers, etc.) should aim to dedicate 60%+ of their time to buckets 3 and 4. This is their zone of strategic value, where they:

  • Build High-Performing Teams: Through leadership coaching, targeted development programs, and intelligent succession planning.

  • Boost Engagement & Retention: Using data and employee feedback to create a culture where people want to participate.

  • Drive Transformation: Turning business goals into HR action plans – to support growth, mergers, or restructuring.

It's time for business leaders to ask themselves:

  • Are we fully leveraging our HR team's expertise?

  • What tasks could be automated, delegated, or outsourced?

  • How can we empower HR to play a proactive, strategic role in our success?

By investing in the right systems and giving HR the space to think big, businesses unlock their people as a true competitive advantage… a point worth letting sink in.

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