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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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Line managers lack skills for people tasks, fears HR


Although just under two thirds of HR professionals have devolved tactical activities to at least some line managers, three out of five are not convinced that they have the necessary skills and know-how to cope.

According to a survey of 139 senior HR managers working in firms with more than 100 employees undertaken by YouGov, some 63% now expected line managers to handle everything from disciplinary and grievance procedures to booking staff holiday and recording sickness absence.
But only 60% of respondents were even ‘fairly confident’ that line managers were up to the job, while 62% worried about losing control once responsibility was handed over.
Richard Smith, head of product development at Wolters Kluwer’s Croner, which commissioned the study, said: “As HR evolves into a more strategic role in many organisations, there’s a need to hand over day-to-day HR administration to line managers and free up necessary space without adding to headcount or cost.”
The trouble was that, while line managers were considered well placed to manage these HR issues given their knowledge of, and interaction, with personnel, in many cases they were not given enough training or sufficient support to do so effectively, he added.
But the outcome of this situation was potentially negative all round, Smith said. Line managers could become overburdened, staff expectations were likely not to be met and HR could become distracted from delivering higher value – even though 81% of respondents indicated that being able to demonstrate value was becoming a growing imperative.
Author Profile Picture
Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Cath Everett

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