A line manager is in charge of a worker or a work group who do not have any managerial responsibility. Some of the daily duties that a line manager undertakes are people management, dealing with customers/clients, monitoring work process, measuring operational performance, organising allocation and rotas and monitoring absenteeism. Although line managers play a vital role in bridging the very best level management and the low hierarchical staff on a daily basis, it sometimes appears that most of the line managers, however, might not exactly have formal management education because he/she is generally promoted from within.
Due to the daily and frequent contacts between your line managers and the staff to whom he/she is responsible, it's been a far more common practice to see the line managers undertaking several human resources responsibilities including recruiting and collection of employee - the function otherwise used to be exclusively of the human resource department in the past. This is widely practiced lately mainly due to proven fact that the line managers have a much better understanding of the work that needs to be carried out in order to match the corporate strategy and functions strategy of the organisation. With all the prevailing frequent communication between the line managers and the employees, it also contributes towards increased morale in the employees ensuring an increased productivity and competency of the employees and enhanced concentrate on customers.
Since almost all of the line managers don't have formal management education, they could not be fully reliant on the managerial tasks that they perform and therefore they have got drawback in their undertaking of recruiting tasks although they have added value to the recruiting professionals by permitting them to invest their time on more strategic issues.
Increased speed of decision making
Line management responsibility for people issues
Local management accountability
Potential cost savings
Strategic role for central HR/IR
Short lines of communication
Lack of your time to perform HR duties
Increase in line manager's workload
Additional costs of training managers
Increase in grievances/tribunal cases
Potential for HR/IR to be marginalized
People management not regarded as part of the line manager's job
Increased speed of decision making:
Line management responsibility for folks issues
Local management accountability
Potential cost savings
Strategic role for central HR
Short lines of communication
Lack of energy to perform Human Resources duties
Increase in line manager's workload
Additional cost of training line managers
Increase in grievance/tribunal case
Potential for HR to be marginalised
People management not considered to be line manager's job
The people and performance research completed for the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) by a team at Bath University (Hutchinson, 2003) found that the line managers played a essential role in terms of implementing and enacting HR policies and practices. They discovered that where employees feel positive about their relationship using their line managers they are more likely to have higher degrees of job satisfaction, commitment and loyalty that are associated with higher levels of performance or discretionary behaviour. Discretionary behaviour is thought as whatever goes beyond the necessity of the job to provide extra performance which can enhance underneath line. Line managers also play the strongest part in structuring people's actual connection with doing a job.
According to the paid survey of 121 organisations, collectively employing almost 25 % of your million people, demonstrates four in five (80. 2%) organisations have devolved tasks such as managing flexible working requests and handling grievance and disciplinary procedures to line managers within the last few years. And two in three predict the role of line managers will take on even more HR functions over another few years. (Williams, 2008)
Also, another interesting finding was that the line managers claimed to be satisfied with the HR tasks which may have been devolved to them and are keen to defend myself against activities that relate explicitly to the introduction of their team. Most line managers report working closely with the HR counterparts and see the configuration moving towards a partnership. The line managers' priority is that a insufficient support from HR during the delivery of the service can detract from the entire effectiveness. They also remember that junior level line managers are likely to feel less supported by HR and comment that it's merely their high level position that drives the HR-line partnership in their situations. (Susan Whittaker, 2003).
The role of line managers in both public and private organisations has changed quite significantly in recent years. The line managers have been allocated more duties and are accountable not only for budgeting and allocating of resources, but most of all for individuals management issues as per Hoogenboorn & Brewster (1992. ). According to some sources such as Storey (1992: 190), he argues that line managers may "be playing a far more central role in labour management" than HR personnel. Whereas another source, Hales (2005) traces the greater involvement of line managers in HR issues to two developments. He argues that the line managers have been dealing with the role of a 'coach', 'conductor' or a 'leader' of a highly motivated team consequently of the spread of Human Resource Management and the adoption of more participative varieties of management worried about securing high performance through commitment rather than control.
Human Resource Devolvement has led to line managers acquiring middle management functions and becoming "mini-general managers" associated with the increased loss of supervisory functions downwards to work teams. It really is hence more appropriate for line managers to consider responsibility for folks development since they operate alongside the individuals they manage and therefore it is argued that that their reactions will be more immediate and appropriate (Whittaker and Marchington, 2003).
Initial research indicates some positive support for line manager HR involvement. Hutchinson and Purcell (2003) discovered that line manager involvement in coaching, guidance and communication positively influences organisational performance. Likewise, a case study of line manager involvement in HR in the NHS by Currie and Proctor (2001) found that line managers are essential contributors to strategic change when given discretion in implementing HR strategies within their own work groups.
Whittaker and Marchington (2003) maintain that line managers increasingly welcome HR responsibilities and are ready to take them on as they add variation and challenge to their work. Gibb (2003) argues that requiring line managers to become more mixed up in HR issues could also lead to a transformation of managers own attitudes towards HR, organisational change and therefore a transformation of human relations at the job (Gibb, 2003). By increasing line manager involvement in HR, it is argued that better workplace conditions will result as line managers have better understanding than specialists of the sort and range of interventions needed. In such a pursuit, line managers are assisted by more effective and user-friendly human resource information systems, new technologies and Human Resource call centres, which makes it possible for line managers to handle some HR work without the help of Human Resource Department.
It is seen a speedy resolution of conflicts and lower rate of employee turnover is possible by moving Human Resources responsibilities closer to employees through line managers. Indeed, providing greater authority to line managers and encouraging greater initiative taking may address a long-standing criticism levelled at HR departments; namely a lack of appreciation of the immediacy of the line manager's problems (Harris, L, Doughty, D. & Kirk, S. (2002).
According to Maxwell and Watson (2006), business partnerships between HR specialists and line managers have emerged as the dominant model for Human Resources functions within organisations. Similarly, Ulrich (2005) outlines the role of HR Strategic Partners as working alongside line managers to help them reach their goals by crafting strategies to maximise productivity through alignment of corporate resources to these goals.
We can hence understand that devolving HR duties to line managers offers a number of advantages to organisations. A larger freedom to HR specialists to activate with strategic issues is provided enabling these to forge closer relationships with line managers and a partnership model towards managing employees is developed. Similarly, line managers understand and appreciate the complex nature of dealing with the employee issues and become more encouraged and involved in everyday workplace management tasks.
However, line managers have pointed various problems concerning HR involvement despite the above mentioned great things about taking part in HR activities. It'll obviously increase their workload by getting involved with HR tasks. Increased workload causes feelings of incompetence among line managers and reluctance to take responsibility for devolved HR activities. Indeed, it has resulted in feelings among some line managers of being "dumped upon" (Renwick 2003: 265) or "pushed upon to have new HR responsibilities" (Harris, L, Doughty, D. & Kirk, S. (2002):) due to a climate of fear and mistrust driven by HR. The knowledge and ability of line managers to use responsibility for HR issues may present a major barrier to devolvement. Both Whittaker and Marchington (2003) and Hailey, V. H. , Farndale, E. & Truss, C. (2005) claim that line managers' skills and competence in HR practices may be limited and too little training in this area will certainly affect a line managers' overall effectiveness. Incapability and misunderstanding of HR practices for line managers will avoid the organisation from creating a strong learning culture (McCracken and Wallace, 2000) with McGovern et al. (1997) arguing a lack of training may lead to inconsistencies in implementing organisational HR policies potentially exposing the organisation to lawsuits and employment tribunals. Their research though, indicates that management development is not a priority for the top management and reliance on the idea of "trial-and-error" is prevalent in organisations. Furthermore, the failure of organisations to have a long-term developmental view is exposed by the reluctance to create aside a specific budget for training and the belief that management development is the individual's responsibility.
Many line managers get under great pressure to meet operational targets, and frequently struggle to fulfil their people management duties. That is partly because they're not equipped with the tools, skills and knowledge they have to be effective. As a result, managers sometimes effectively abdicate responsibility for aspects of individuals management. A widely used phrase is "that's HR's job" often tends to be heard a lot in many companies - whether relating to employee development, managing an individual's performance or dealing with absenteeism issues.
Recent research involving practically 3, 000 employers by the Work Foundation and the Institute for Employment Studies found that organisations with a comprehensive, structured method of people management, covering areas such as recruitment, development plans and employee appraisals, perform better than those without, as indicated by higher profits per employee, higher profit margins and eventually higher productivity.
Sometimes it's easy to be critical of managers, but often they're not properly equipped to work. Investment in management training requires obviously set-down policies and procedures. There appears to be insufficient clear guidance and easily accessible information, it isn't surprising that many line managers' response when an issue arises is either to pick up the phone to HR or even to ignore the situation and hope it would goes away or transfer responsibility to someone else.
It is interesting but to be fair to line managers, sometimes part of the challenge could also lie with the HR department itself. For all the talk about attempting to devolve more responsibility to the line, used HR professionals are sometimes reluctant to trust line managers to control. They can be unwilling to give managers the various tools and information they have to get the job done effectively: after all, knowledge is power, and when you are the gatekeepers of most information associated with employees, policies and processes, HR may feel that they have power. This is obviously not in the long-term interests of the HR function.
HR teams must realise that if they are to fulfil their potential and be true partners to the business, they need to trust their managers with the day-today stuff. This doesn't mean being unsupportive but continued support to line managers to aid them with responsibility for just how that individuals are managed. It does mean defining strategies and policies and then investing in place the frameworks and the systems that enable managers to use accountability for the day-to-day execution - but in a controlled, informed and effective way.
Line managers must try to be more accountable whereas HR professionals being more strategic could assist when working together. Better solutions are needed to support key people management processes and it's likely that intelligent use of technology is likely to represent at least area of the answer. Technology-based services offer organisations the actual to give much greater support to their line managers, however in an extremely cost-effective way. Line managers can get tools to walk them through common processes, usage of comprehensive information about their employees, guidance about how to control effectively, and prompts when tasks or actions are due - all accessed with a single web-based service.
In view of the above, making line managers accountable for the delivery of HR can be complex. Line managers may not possess the required skills needed to implement HR initiatives and may feel ill-equipped or insufficiently trained to accept responsibility for day-to-day HR tasks. Devolving HR tasks may also represent too little appreciation of the workloads, time pressures and overall priorities of line managers threatening the overall standards of HR delivery over the organisation and diminishing the value of HR.
It is found that getting line managers involved with HR tasks is a step towards achieving a far more strategic, value-added approach to managing employees. Line managers play an important position in the organisational hierarchy and can directly affect the quality of front-line services. It'll greatly increase the existing pressures of excess workload and the necessity to deliver on short-term priorities by devolving line managers with HR responsibilities. It will also mean the requirement of display of an increased level of HR competency by the line managers which demands the necessity for high-quality training programmes for line managers to ensure that they feel confident in discharging their new HR responsibilities. Such training can help organisations avoid costly litigation and harm to their public reputation.
Therefore, HR professionals must engage with line managers and develop a partnership to bring about a speedier resolution to workplace conflicts by allowing line managers to seek guidance and advice whenever required thereby making line managers more accountable for HR.