So what do organisations typically try in an effort to help line managers succeed but perhaps all too often, has failed.
Let's remember an old Chinese proverb:
"Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand."
Here are a few things that organisations will try in an effort to help and support line managers to carry out their day to day responsibilities.
Publishing information (e.g. on intranets or in manuals)
Simply publishing policy and process information, whether in print or electronically, is rarely effective.
Even if the content is well organised, clearly indexed and regularly updated (which, is often not the case), it still requires a significant level of effort from the manager to find the information they need for any specific situation, read it, digest it, interpret what it means for them and then decide what action to take based on it.
Due to the time pressures that most managers are under, even where the right information is available, it is often not used.
More Hands-on HR Support
Throwing more HR people at the problem is not a realistic option for most organisations due to cost but many try it!
However, relying on HR to produce every letter, attend every meeting and tackle every problem is not only prohibitively expensive, it also encourages managers to abdicate responsibility for the performance of their teams.
Most senior HR managers already believe that HR takes too much responsibility for day-to-day management issues.
According to a recent survey, UK HR Directors believed that the split of day-to-day people management tasks between line managers and HR was currently 50:50.
The view of the HRDs was that the optimal level would be 80:20.
Traditional HR Software
It is debatable whether traditional HR systems should even be considered in this section, as many offer very little value to line managers.
The whole focus of many current generation of HR Software systems is still on supporting the activities of HR departments and the administration of employee records, rather than on supporting the people actually doing the managing. Even where managers do have ‘self-serve’ access to an HR System it tends to be for basic viewing/ updating of records via either an unfriendly database or into 'pretty' software with little substance.
HR Systems are typically not designed to support managers carry out their day-to-day management responsibilities.
We All Need To Equip Our Managers to Succeed
A better solution is clearly needed for supporting line managers and more effective use of the right level of technology platform is likely to provide at least part of the answer.
It is perhaps surprising that technology has had minimal impact to date on people management, particularly when you consider that old but true cliche that many business owners would highlight people as their organisation’s most important assets.
While many areas of a business have benefited from the application of technology to support specific functions, the critical role of the line manager has so far been largely unsupported. It is perhaps not surprising that in many organisations there is a significant gap between the intent of HR policies and the reality of what happens on the ground.
However, the situation is now changing and no organisation needs to struggle with disparate systems and processes. Youmanage is at the forefront of a new generation of people management systems, with a focus on wholly supporting the practise of people management throughout an organisation, rather than just managing employee records.
View and download the full whitepaper, How To Improve Line Manager Effectiveness.