A business report is a document in which the author analyses a business issue and gives recommendations based on that analysis. It may also be referred to as writing a business case or a manager’s briefing.

HR practitioners are likely to write business reports to summarise their investigations into a particular situation (for example to explain a difficulty in attracting particular talents during the recruitment process) or to support a proposal to introduce a new initiative (for example when introducing a new learning and development programme).

Students are likely to be asked to write a business report as part of their studies, usually as a piece of assessed work. Such reports differ from an essay because they have a much more structured approach. See our guide on writing an academic essay [link].

Reports written by students and HR practitioners will have a similar format, apart from a literature review. It’s unlikely that a report written for a business audience would need a literature review, although there could be some circumstances in which this would be appropriate.

Strategic awareness, a business orientation and a concern to add value through HR practice are key elements of professional competence. Qualified HR professionals should be able to research relevant topics and write reports that can persuade key decision-makers in the organisation to change and/or adopt a particular policy and practice. To achieve this, the report must present a clear and logical case that demonstrates the subject knowledge and authority of the author and will lead the reader to understand and appreciate the value of the recommended actions.

This guide offers advice on the report writing process and the key steps to improve the quality of business reports.

Planning the report

Collecting relevant information

Understanding the report structure

Presenting the report

References and books

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