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Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Power to Hire and Fire and Everything in Between

When I started work as HR Director in a BPO company, I noticed that line managers depended on the HR Department to do most of the "people management" stuff. When managers encounter performance and behavior issues with their employees, they look to HR to clean up the mess. When difficult communications have to be made, HRD is expected to deliver it. I, however, refused to play the cannon fodder role. I clarified to the line managers that the role of HRD in d company should that of a strategic business partner and enabler. I went to work on playing this role by doing the following:
I leveled expectations on the role of HRD and the HR role of the line managers. I told the managers that their powers include the power to hire and fire. This meant that I will not do those things for them. I will send people their way to choose and hire from but won't choose for them. I will make sure that they are doing all the right things before firing an undeserving employee, but won't fire 'em for them.
A lot of HR work is necessary to help make this happen. HR has to familiarize managers with all the recruitment concepts and selection procedures. Line managers need to appreciate that they share accountability for employees' success and failures. Hence, managers need to be committed to performance management. They need to set performance goals, monitor, develop capacity and capability, evaluate, reward and recognize good performance. They should also weed the company out of employees with undesirable performance and behaviors by enforcing the company's code of ethics and adhering to the dictates of the labor laws on due process. Managers also needed to appreciate their role on identifying those who have the potentials to succeed them and prepare them for the eventuality. A lot of preparations made this possible. I and my HR team developed a management development plan for our company's managers and team leaders. They went through several training and workshops that include basic leadership and management, performance management, coaching, maintaining discipline in the workplace and others. Before I left the company, Managers were making final hiring decisions and were accountable for those decisions by making sure that they equip their employees with the right technical training, were coached about their performance so that they are able to meet performance expectations. Those who failed despite their managers' intervention were asked to leave the company.

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