In the research we looked at the different sizes of organisations and how size impacted the role and effectiveness of business partnering—and its contribution to commercial decision making. From small organisations with fewer than 500 employees, to midmarket companies and large enterprises with more than 3,500 employees, we discovered some fascinating results. We found that smaller organisations, those with fewer than 500 employees, make the best business partners. I think that’s because of the environment. They’re working in close connection with the business, there aren’t too many people, perhaps they’re on one or two sites, and they’re able to walk the corridors. All of those factors enable them to engage with people more easily.
At the other extreme, the organisations that have more than 3,500 employees have all the veneer of good business partnering. They have the grand titles, all the right tools, a large team, and training, but they’re severely handicapped in terms of established legacy processes. And it is lack of standardisation and automation that holds them back from doing a really good job as business partners. Stuck in the middle, you’ve got the midmarket business partners who have a really tough time. They don’t have the resources of the large organisations and they don’t have the fluidity and ability to act freely, as the small organisations have.