Skip to main Content
Search site

Search site

Career advice, insights & tips for HR professionals

Search and filter articles

Career development

Career advice for job seekers

How does HR support line managers? 05/10/2009

In a global war for talent, recruiting, retaining and developing human capital in a way that delivers to the business can really only be done properly if it is in partnership with HR, and Results in a clear competitive advantage.

How does HR support line managers?

Click to jump to section

  1. Developing the right culture and behaviours
  2. Build effective relationships
  3. Talent management as critical success factor
  4. Understand the business objectives
  5. Longer term succession & development planning
  6. Reward and employee engagement tools
  7. Internal communications
  8. Make line managers aware of available support
  9. Engaging work climate
  10. Joined up thinking

Developing the right culture and behaviours

The human resources function has a crucial role to play in coaching and working with line managers to help them to better understand the range of tools at their disposal to help develop and retain talent. This can range from linking specific performance measures (which include behavioural) with larger goals to clearly defining job roles. 

However, the theory is useless unless you have the right people in the right roles with a talent structure that will enable the organisation to meet its business objectives.  Ensuring that the right culture and behaviours in place is key - it's not just about the functional skills.

Build effective relationships

When HR is working with line managers, one of the first Challenges is the ability of HR to sit down and build effective relationships. 

This will enable HR to communicate the translation of the HR and business objectives in a language that both sides understand. Only then can the relationship be built on a platform of mutual respect and trust where both sides work as a team. This is not just about cutting out the jargon.

Talent management as critical success factor

It’s essential for HR to show a strong grasp of the business and together with the organisational and bottom-line issues that managers face while at the same time helping them to understand that good talent management has become a critical success factor in any organisation.

Understand the business objectives

Before any solutions can be brokered it's important to understand what the business objectives are and to undertake a disciplined brainstorm of the talent management issues that need to be addressed and to prioritise the work to be done.

Longer term succession & development planning

HR can help line managers to understand how talent fits into the bigger picture and the real Benefits to them of longer term succession and development planning through a holistic look at the various components from organisational culture, management, resourcing to training and development. 

How do the elements knit together to effectively develop the business objectives? What are the key talent management deliverables and how can these be achieved?

Reward and employee engagement tools

Specifically, it's important to get the complex area of reward right in any talent management strategy and managers can be guided by HR though these important decisions.

The culture and attitude of management is a vital component in the successful delivery of intangible rewards such as flexible working hours, career growth, recognition, leadership and working environment – all of which can have a big impact on employee engagement and retaining talent. 

Internal communications

Internal communications play an important role in helping both HR and line managers to retain and develop talent. An effective internal communication strategy will help to ensure this is achieved.

When recruiting any talent into a business, there are a number of “touch points” where a business can engage with new talent. It's important that this activity is done in keeping with the organisation culture and values, in a professional, timely and accurate manner.

Otherwise it reflects poorly on the business and can result in the new “talent” deciding against an organisation. It is therefore something HR should be close to.

Make line managers aware of available support

HR needs to make line managers aware of the support that is available to help them to develop their talent management capability. HRDs recognise that it is up to HR to raise their profile and value in terms of what they can offer and bring to a business rather than waiting to be asked and invited in.

Engaging work climate

Managers who are able to create an all-around engaging work climate will in turn have a direct impact on staff attraction, retention, motivation and commitment.

Working in partnership, HR plays a significant role in helping line managers to take ownership of these intangible but key tools to ensure they can be used as effectively as possible as part of a talent management strategy.

Joined up thinking

Ideally, a strong ‘triumvirate’ of HR, comms and line management can ensure that effective and clear communication happens on a regular and uniform basis.

This is particularly important during times of cultural or organisational change which can be challenging and unsettling for employees and a potentially volatile time for employee retention and talent management.

Jo Sellwood, Strategi Search & Selection

Jo Sellwood, Strategi Search & Selection

Jo Sellwood, Strategi Search & Selection