HR vs Line managers: Getting back on track

by Sarah Megginson26 Mar 2014
The relationship between HR and line managers in many organisations is broken, according to a recent international survey of 150 HR directors and 600 line managers.
 
The study, conducted by global management consultancy Hay Group, highlights a high level of frustration from both sides of the equation.
 
Dr Wendy Montague, National Leadership and Talent Practice Lead, Hay Group, said HR directors and their teams often feel over-burdened by a large level of everyday requests from line managers. At the same time, many managers complain that HR teams are slow to respond to their urgent issues.
 
“HR managers estimate they spend a third of their time answering everyday requests from the line, which bogs them down from taking a long-term strategic view of their role in the business,” Montague said.  
 
“Meanwhile, 43% of line managers aren’t happy with the service they’re getting and feel un-empowered to tackle their own HR issues (34%). Many of these line managers stated Google as a better source of information!”
 
Besides lingering frustration for both line and HR, external forces are also creating a tsunami of reasons to change, with globalisation, budget constraints and skill shortages all posing risks to the status quo.  
 
“In the age of mobile information, HR information and advice needs to become more fluid and adaptable. Instant access is now an essential ingredient of both work and play,” Montague said.
 
“HR also needs to change its mindset – from the expert with access to special information who ‘rescues’ the day, to a coach or facilitator to line managers, building their confidence to make sound HR decisions.”  
 
Line managers need to step up to a new level of accountability for their relationships with their employees, Montague advised, to allow HR the space to regains its role as a true business partner, setting strategic and policy framework for the organisation.
 
“Improving the relationship between HR and the line will also ultimately drive better outcomes for employees,” she said.
 
Dr Wendy Montague from Hay Group will discuss ‘HR and line managers: Reinventing the relationship’ at our 2014 HR Summit, held in Sydney on April 1-2. For more information, click here.

COMMENTS

  • by Louise P 26/03/2014 2:14:14 PM

    “HR managers estimate they spend a third of their time answering everyday requests from the line": Sounds like excuses to me. Better organisations should take care of that.

  • by SUCHARIT CHAUDHURI 28/03/2014 5:16:43 PM

    Despite jargon like Business partnership etc. etc. HR is basically a staff function to support the line function. It is valid till day. But for HR all employees are customers including the owner and the CEO. Internal customer satisfaction is the main motto of HR. HR is a cost center. But to transform it into profit center, is the skill of HR. AND IN THE COMING DAYS HR WILL BE DOMINATED BY IR. Industrial relations will be the main job of HR due to huge social inequality coming out of capitalist structure. These HR PPTs, PMS, HR technology, Numerous HR databases, Over communication, De-touching from shop floor, Focus on conference room will of no use. Those who will be able to manage Unions, Government, Labour laws, Statutory issues, Environmental issues, Political and social issues will win the race. These modern HR practices will further enhance the inequality. There should be strong IR practices for productivity and growth.

  • by Gail Palubiak 29/03/2014 2:41:20 AM

    “HR also needs to change its mindset – from the expert with access to special information who ‘rescues’ the day, to a coach or facilitator to line managers, building their confidence to make sound HR decisions.”

    No truer words! Also, line managers will be well served to pick up some of the initial candidate screening functions. HR is often the furthest removed from where the work will actually get done so is rarely as well versed to identify key human capital.

Most Read