Solid HR processes and structures are crucial if strategic partnerships between different companies are to prove effective.
This is according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD), which has published new research ahead of its Annual Conference and Exhibition.
The organisation stated that the number of businesses looking to cement a formal relationship with another company has risen sharply in recent years. However, many of these deals result in failure and the CIPD thinks HR departments must carry some of the blame for this.
HR professionals have a lot to deal with at the moment, with hiring patterns changing and skills gaps emerging, so it is understandable that a lot of partnerships have fallen by the wayside.
CIPD research adviser and co-author of this latest study Dr Jill Miller said that HR departments are not only responsible for handling employee issues in their own business, they must now work alongside a partnering organisation.
Unsurprisingly, this can cause complications.
"HR needs to ensure they recruit and develop the right people to become leaders who are able to balance the competing demands placed on them from their 'home' organisation with the goals of the network, and who will set the appropriate behavioural standards for the network," Ms Miller remarked.
Paul Sparrow – professor of international human resource management at Lancaster University Management School – has identified three key areas that HR professionals need to focus on. These are managing risk and opportunity, improving learning and knowledge-sharing practices and governance.
With more and more businesses entering into strategic partnerships, Mr Sparrow said that supporting such arrangements must become a "core HR capability".
"Governance needs to be built into the design of partnerships rather than something we all talk about after the failure," he commented.
The CIPD is now conducting even more extensive research into business agreements and the challenges facing HR departments. The results are expected to be published in 2014 and will give firms a better idea of what is required to make a success out of these partnerships.