Its a tough job to drive bottom line through HR

Here are a five ways where HR and line management can make a difference:

• Respect
The relationship between line management and HR demands mutual respect at all times. It must be supported by executives and the HR Director, underpinned by corporate values.

• Business & Talent
Line management should keep HR abreast of business issues by including them in strategy sessions, management meetings, committees and e-mail groups. HR should do the same when it comes to talent issues.

• Business case
HR professionals are likely to win line management support if they present their proposals, recommendations and projects as a proper business case complete with facts, figures and insights. Line management could provide guidance on preparing the business case together with templates and standards.

• Crisis management
Line management and HR should agree on their roles and responsibilities and in particular, that the purpose of HR is not crisis management. A post mortem must be undertaken after the crisis to distil the lessons into practical measures. It could also be used as a case study in other departments.

• Management override
In some situations, a material disagreement between line management and HR leads to the former proceeding on a course of action without HR approval. Excluding the effect of organisational policies, both parties should have recourse to guidance from executives, referrals to special committees and external expertise.

Line management and HR have a tough job in driving the bottom line through people. A strong relationship allows them to contribute their expertise for the benefit of the organisation and the people employed in it.   

(Star Workplace, March 2006)

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