Empowering and Enabling UPMC’s HR Business Partners


UPMC approached the Human Capital Institute in spring 2016 to discuss opportunities to upskill their growing team of HR business partners as part of a larger One HR transformation effort. The role of the HR business partner had evolved considerably at UPMC, and today, those individuals are tasked with driving critical partnerships and initiatives in the business, serving as a liaison between UPMC’s core HR functions and the organization's business units.

Supporting HR Transformation

Client Profile

  • $20 billion world-renowned, nonprofit health care provider and insurer
  • 40 academic, community, and specialty hospitals
  • 89,000 staff members
  • 500+ HR team members
  • U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside on its annual Honor Roll of America’s Best Hospitals and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals

Case Summary

The dynamics of the healthcare industry is prompting many employers to rethink their traditional HR and talent management practices. HR Business Partners are increasingly asked to own and contribute to more strategic initiatives within the business. Human Capital Institute's Strategic HR Business Partner Certification Program is uniquely designed to prepare them to succeed in this new environment.


  • 300+ HR employees spanning different internal functions
  • Inconsistent training and experience levels across the business partner population
  • Six domestic regions represented and three global locations
  • A need for upskilling in both hard and soft skills

Our Approach

HCI and UPMC collaborated on the best approach to bring its vast HR team through the Strategic HR Business Partner certification program. A customized training was designed to emphasize the specific skills UPMC most critically needed, and a two-year Corporate Membership was included to help address the ongoing learning and development needs of UPMC’s broader HR team.

UPMC Training Content



  • A pilot course was delivered on-site in August 2016 
  • Following that success, 15 additional on-site cohort classes were scheduled throughout 2017 and 2018 and the first half of 2019
  • Over 350 employees within HR at UPMC have participated in the training, and 95% have earned the HCI's sHRBP certification

Course Feedback

"Outstanding course! Very relevant for all our professional HR staff! Tremendous course for our business unit point HR consultants and generalists.”

"This course was a much different way to look at the work we do, which I really appreciated. It provided an opportunity to network with other HR partners, which I loved.”

"The course allowed me to think outside the box and encouraged me to try to be more of a partner and less of a monitor or a police officer.”

UPMC Case Study Course Feedback

Facilitator Feedback

"[The facilitator] was awesome, knowledgeable, and an expert in his field. He brought fun and humor to the content where he could and did a great job connecting with the class. He really understood our organization and was able to answer questions and provide insight when discussing UPMC.”

"[The facilitator] was excellent. He was engaging and did an amazing job making the topics relevant to everyday events and experiences.”

"[The facilitator] was extremely friendly and knowledgeable. He clearly has a passion for this content and an extensive depth of knowledge.”

UPMC Case Study Facilitator Feedback

What's Next for UPMC

The Human Capital Institute and UPMC have collaborated to update the program content to support plans to offer the certification throughout the remainder of 2019 and beyond as the HR team at UPMC continues to grow. UPMC will also continue to promote its Corporate Membership as a means of supporting the ongoing learning and development of the HR Business Partners and other functional HR leaders and practitioners.