The Role of an OSU HR Strategic Partner

The HR Strategic Partner (HRSP) is a thought partner for OSU leaders on people matters. We are responsible for identifying and navigating both patterns and high-stakes individual problems. The HRSP role is designed to deliver services akin to those recommended in a 2009 white paper republished by the Society for Human Resources Management:

  • “Contribute to strategy discussions and decision-making;
  • Help execute strategy;
  • Provide ideas and challenge to management teams, thus acting as a catalyst for change;
  • Advise on people issues, supported by measurement and evaluation;
  • Be an expert and conduit on people challenges – especially talent, performance and change; and to
  • Collaborate with throughout HR to deliver seamless service.”1

In practical terms, these are some key HRSP activities:

  • Coach leaders and supervisors about employees’ performance via training and development, working relationships and performance improvement plans (where necessary). We collaborate with ELR and EOA frequently in this work. We also facilitate terminations for and not-for cause.
  • Understand unit/college’s goals and priorities and recommend HR strategies that move groups toward those priorities. This is a large category of work that includes knowing which employees are key to their success, understanding their hiring strategy for next 6-12 months, organizational design, understanding how information flows within an organization, different communication approaches, prioritizing training needs and sometimes delivering the training.
  • Coach leaders and hiring managers on key hiring and retention matters; liaise between HR and departments to pilot new ideas and solutions.
  • Bring information about new or changing HR programs to unit/college leadership team and work with leaders to implement those programs consistent with the unit’s culture and style.
  • Act as a sounding board, planning partner and implementation partner on organizational development needs. Includes re-envisioning organizational structures and positions, building and implementing change management plans, and assessing success of the change.
  • Co-teach HR training such as CORE for Managers & Supervisors and Crucial Conversations.
  • Recommend new practices, policies and procedures that better support OSU’s needs.

Real-life examples of HRSP work from CY2022:

  • An HRSP noticed that a supervisor’s newly hired employees were struggling. The supervisor perceived that the employees were not trying hard enough. The HRSP asked about how the supervisor oriented their new hires and learned that the supervisor rarely met with the hires. The HRSP coached the supervisor on orientation best practices, recommended to the department leader that orientation practices be updated and worked with a group on improvements for the department.
  • A unit planned to hire a new kind of post-baccalaureate position that provides experiential education between undergraduate and graduate programs. The HRSP worked with the department, Classification & Compensation and Faculty Affairs to create a sustainable model that maximized limited grant funds.
  • An HRSP worked with a leader to reorganize a major department at OSU. Each existing position was mapped to funding source, existing business need and future business need. The HRSP created a staffing plan, implementation timeline and communications checklist for the department’s use.

Some of our priorities for FY23 include:

  • Build and roll out a quarterly dashboard for leaders (will involve multiple HR and Faculty Affairs groups). Initially we will focus on visibility of key information, but the longer-term goal is to provide trend analysis for planning purposes.
  • Build and roll out the Managerial Competency Framework implementation toolkit.
  • Build and roll out a change management toolkit.

How can I provide feedback about an HRSP’s performance?
Please contact Carolyn Warfield, Director of HR Strategic Partners, at [email protected]