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Sunday, August 07, 2005

Bring HR Closer to the Line Part 1

Hey! It’s been long since my last post. It took time ‘till inspiration went back but enough of that. Let’s proceed with today’s topic.

I noticed that in some companies, line managers have the vaguest understanding of HR work and could not link what we do in what they do. One glaring point, in some companies, policing and disciplining seems to be understood as the sole and exclusive domain of HR when in fact it shouldn’t. It looks like this is going to be a long one so I decided to post it in parts so that you won’t fall asleep or worse see that the article is too long that you won’t even read. I’ll tackle recruitment and training for now and a few more next week. Here goes…

Recruitment – The labor code identified the authority to hire and fire as among the things that define a manager’s well, authority. Let’s talk about firing later and concentrate on how we can bring recruitment closer to the line for now. This is by involving the line managers as much as possible in the hiring process and ultimately by giving them the final decision to hire the people who will work with them. How can this be done without worrying about the quality of their hiring decisions? Here are some of my suggestions:

  • Help them describe the competencies needed to perform the job and then identify the profiles of an ideal candidate in terms of qualification, aptitude and attitude requirements.
  • Educate them regarding how to best use the information generated by the IQ, personality and other tests that HR administers. I found in many occasions that these information are like Greek to them. They don’t understand and they don’t use it. This is sad considering the amount of time Recruitment Section spend on administering and generating the reports.
  • Teach them how to effectively conduct a job interview. A lot of interviewing line managers are clueless and drive the interview process by the seat of their pants. Develop or source out a training program on interviewing and selection for managers. You don't want them to just make hiring decisions based solely on gut feel do you? (not that gut feel is bad)

Lastly threaten them. (just trying to be funny) Tell them that the quality of the people who will work with them lay in their hands. They can avoid future headaches by being careful about the people they hire.

Training and Development – I just read from a newspaper ad today that one company spent 130 million pesos for training last year. I know a number of companies who spend more. I wonder how much of it benefited the company or the employees themselves. I noticed in some consulting assignments how some training managers base their performance on the number of courses launched and yes, in some cases amount of pesos spent when what they should be looking at is how a training course addresses a performance gap and how to make sure that learning is channeled to the floor through the managers who manage people’s performance. These are some of the things that I suggest people in charge of training should do to make sure that managers are involved in transforming training into performance:

  • Identify the competencies necessary in performing the job with the line managers.
  • Analyze which of these competencies are being practiced and which are not.
  • Determine whether failure to practice is due to lack of skill or due to other reasons (i.e., morale, attitude problem, lack of other resources, etc.) through performance evaluations and other gap analysis tools.
  • If performance gap is due to lack of skill, determine what particular training is necessary.
  • Involve them in selecting training providers – see to it that the program fits the need of the employee.
  • Know specifically what particular behavioral changes the employee must exhibit after attending the training.
  • Send managers report regarding the training and what they need to do in order to support the knowledge and “skills’ shared during the course.
  • Ensure management support in instituting changes.
  • Follow through with on-going coaching
  • Make the line managers know what behaviors are to be expected after the employee attended the training.
  • Let them know as much about the training as they can so that they can support it.
  • Have them communicate their expectations, recognize compliance and discuss non-compliance.
  • Threaten them again (you know what I mean). Let them know how much investment training is and how easily the investment can go to naught if managers do not follow through.

Let’s stop here for now. Next stop, I’ll talk about performance management and maintaining discipline in the workplace.

Have a nice one!


  1. That's true. We have managers that want us (HR) to reprimand their own people.

    First off, it shows that the manager doesn't want to be involved in a process that shows him in a "negative" light. Ayaw nyang mag-mukhang contrabida.

    Second, nakakademoralize mas lalo kung IBANG tao ang mag-rerepremand sayo, right? The best person to tell you how to best improve your job is your immediate superior.

    Third, the managers see it as an HR "issue". They see themselves as the Sales Manager and focus nila is on making profits. Nakalimutan na nila that they're MANAGERS now, no longer SALES EXECUTIVES.

  2. Ive been working in recruitment and what you said is right. Recruitment has been always an easy escape for line managers when it comes problems concerning their people. They are most likely to throw their fingers saying it's recruitment's fault, when in fact they've been part of the selection process, they are the ones giving the final decision.

    Sigh this just shows that management people do forget that HR job is also part of their system and not that to the section named HR Department.

  3. Anonymous11:41 AM

    Yeah right! Managers are also intittled to do the HR thing especially that they're handling numbers of people. I've been working with two areas already with different managers. I've observed that the kind of members in the organization depends on the kind of a leader they have and on how it perform its function.

  4. Nowadays it is becoming very important to be flexible with HR policies. As companies are growing the demand also is sky high.Knowing the people and getting the best out of them is the toughest job HR has to do.So better be equipped with all the know hows.
    Human Resources College


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