The lead feature for this issue, “Speaking the language of line managers”, examines the trend in which line managers are slowly but surely taking over the HR frontline. This is not necessarily a bad thing for HR, but simply the way business is evolving. This trend presents also HR with a number of opportunities.
One of the traditional reasons that people go into HR is because they are interested in helping people to grow and develop. The business benefits of growing and developing have not always been immediately obvious, especially to hard nosed financial controllers.
However, the stark reality of issues such as the skills shortage, ageing of the workforce and increased competition for talent make it hard for any executive to ignore the importance of the value that a switched-on HR team can add. There are still some dinosaurs who are set in their ways and who seem to be happy to bury their heads in the sand. The days are limited for such dinosaurs, and competent executives who are willing to work with good HR leaders are already reaping the business benefits of good people management.
This is where HR can add most value. If line managers are increasingly taking over the HR frontline, this presents HR with the opportunity to work at a more strategic level and focus on the growth and development of an organisation’s people. Linking the two has traditionally been HR’s challenge, and it in HR’s interest, now more so than ever, to understand and communicate the link between the two in a language that line managers and executives understand.
More companies are switching onto the fact that their talented employees provide a competitive advantage like no other in their business. This is a great bandwagon for HR to jump on if there ever was one. Everyone on the business bandwagon would be very happy to have HR along for the journey, provided HR is headed in the same direction and can help navigate the way.