Having entered into the parlance of executives everywhere over the last decade, the term ‘Business Partner’ as applied to human resources professionals has become so overused as to become almost meaningless.
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« Having entered into the parlance of executives everywhere over the last decade, the term ‘Business Partner’ as applied to human resources professionals has become so overused as to become almost meaningless. Who in the HR field hasn’t heard something along the lines of “HR managers must act like business partners” from the CEO of their company? The HR manager, it seems, must grapple with the economic factors that affect their company, in order to propose solutions that fit its needs and goals of the company. Above all – and because it is an accusation that has long been levelled at HR personnel – the term ‘Business Partner’ is designed to present an image of the HR manager as something other than an obstacle to the Board, of someone who is forever putting the brakes on their projects and slowing the pace of urgently needed reform. The message this label gives to the HR manager is that they are somehow involved in the business aspect of their company, without really having a say in how the business is run, and that they should be content to be ‘a facilitator’ or a ‘yes man’ even. In reality, the ‘Business Partner’ is nothing of the sort, as he or she is not involved in the strategic choices the company makes, and is only expected to support them. This is reductive. Viewed in this way, the HR manager has little more than a support function – a role successive generations of HR managers have strived to grow beyond.»
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