Line managers have an important role to play in the smooth daily running of your organisation. They are responsible for managing staff and operations, as well as implementing organisational policies, and in supporting their team’s development. Because of this, it is in the best interest of Human Resource Management to make sure they have a strong relationship with line managers, as they are a critical point of contact between HR and those that report into the line manager. The strategy for building and maintaining this relationship means offering the best support possible to encourage the success of line managers so they can be the leaders that every employee in their team trusts, respects and believes in.
If your Human Resource team is able to take responsibility for ensuring line managers are given every opportunity to improve their ability to manage their team, as well as their working relationship with HR, then you can rest easy knowing that it will inevitably provide an improved employee experience for every person in the line manager's team, and in the organisation overall who comes into contact with them. Cultivating a consistently effective people management strategy hangs on HR and line managers taking responsibility for bridging the gap between them.
Ask for feedback from the line managers
As line managers are the ones implementing HR policies at a grassroots level in an organisation, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they will have valuable insight into how the policies and strategy HR come up with could be improved, as they see how they do or don’t work once put into practice. They will know what the challenges of implementing HR policies across the organisation could be, as they work closely with the employees every day. They see how it impacts the everyday relationship between employee and manager, as well as employee to employee.
By listening to line manager’s constructive feedback, and implementing it into the creation of future policies, as well as updates to pre-existing policies, your HR team will help improve the quality of the workplace for the workforce in your organisation. It will also prove to staff that their opinions are heard and being taken on board by both mine managers and HR. Once they have seen this to be true, they will develop a more trusting and open relationship with both the HR team and their management.
Offer the best conflict resolution support
It is realistic in that there will be friction in every organisation where people work together. There can be personality or working style clashes, and people with the bulk of responsibility may become irritable due to stress, causing a breakdown in their working relationship. When conflicts arise between members of staff which are not able to be resolved purely between the staff involved, line managers will usually look to HR for support and guidance to resolve the problem.
Making sure your HR team is fully equipped with the skill and strategy for managing the conflict resolution meetings, prevent the conflict from escalating, and ensure a solution is put in place to prevent it happening again is crucial. If your HR team are confident in these areas of people management and are able to successfully take responsibility for resolving the issue, it will ease any stress on the line managers, whose jobs will inevitably get more difficult if members of staff in their team are not able to get along and work well together.
Equip line managers with the right tools and skills
HR needs to make it a priority to equip line managers with the tools and skills to manage every individual employee to the best of their ability. While managers have normally been given the role for a reason – whether it’s experience, communication skills, motivational skills – not all of them are naturally the whole package for perfect management.
Providing opportunities for all line managers to develop themselves is central for ensuring employee satisfaction amongst the workforce, as an employee reporting into a manager they feel unsupported by are unlikely to be enjoying their working life, so through HR supporting the line managers, HR are supporting their people. Line managers are the ones who turn HR policies into day-to-day practice, taking them from vision to reality, so it's important they have the skills to implement them properly.
HR giving line managers access to the right tools can span from the soft skills necessary for prime people management, to giving them access to the best technology possible. Technology can play a greater role in employee satisfaction that you think, as it is such a crucial foundation for the everyday running of the business, its effects on employee mental health and productivity are great.
Overall, the many duties of the Human Resource team are endless, with this responsibility simply one of many. While it can seem quite a task, once the relationship between HR and line managers has had its foundations laid, it will be a matter of continuing to keep an eye on it and nurture when necessary, as at that point HR management should have given line managers the necessary resources to help each employee in their respective teams, and the guidelines for when HR need to directly step in. It should be noted that this is not a situation where Human Resource takes over management from line managers, but that HR and line managers work in a collaborative relationship to take care of employee's, aiding in the culture and productivity of the overall organisation.