The recent economic growth has been welcoming news, signalling a wave of job creation and opportunities across many sectors.  That’s great news for candidates who may find themselves in the ‘buyer’s market’ of employment, able to pick and choose from multiple offers.  It’s also signals great opportunities for HR to review, refine and even re-write their recruitment strategy.

We all know the immense value HR delivers in aligning the right candidates to the right role within organisations: the all-important ‘cultural fit’ is something most companies say is at the heart of their recruitment investment.  I couldn’t agree more – but I also know that it isn’t only the hard-grafted recruitment strategies, delivered by talented HR professionals, that ultimately secures an employee’s long-term commitment to perform. 

The real recruitment trump card: line managers

The real trump card, when it comes to securing long-term loyalty and performance, lies in the hand of the line manager: those people who work closely with their teams and influence their behaviour and hence their performance – on a daily basis.  As the economic tables start to turn, it’s vital that HR understands and supports the line-manager community as never before.

There is an old adage that people don’t leave companies, they leave their managers. There is nothing more dis-engaging than working for a line-manager who doesn’t want to – or doesn’t appear to – care very much about their people (beyond standard measures of performance, anyway). 

Supporting the manager community

The reality is that many managers rarely receive anything other than perfunctory support when it comes to engaging their teams to perform.  They often lack the confidence, capability and capacity to manage people because of a lack of practical, relevant training and counsel.  No wonder they feel out of their depth when there is a sudden expectation on them to become experts.

The economic recovery may indeed boost recruitment programmes and initiatives but winning the recruitment battle is just the start.  The true ROI of any recruitment programme is attracting and retaining high-performing candidates who deliver to the bottom line.  Line managers are the catalyst in taking people forward and helping them to achieve this.  Yet without the skill and capability of line managers to lead and engage, the lure of the next job offer will always be round the corner.