This role has many challenges. There are times one may come across a Line Manager that really grasps the importance of managing people and does not shy away from difficult or character building conversations with employees.
Then there are times, when one may come across the Line Manager who complains about how they are doing the job of the HR department and refuses to accept responsibility for their own hiring decisions.
I recall one manager who opted to hire an employee from a sister company, after being warned about peculiar behaviour by this said employee. The manager experienced many challenges with the employee. However, nothing was well documented or even properly discussed with the employee according to the rules of good industrial relations. When the manager had enough of the alleged poor behaviour, the manager wanted the employee out of the department. At the late stage, the manager sought to involve HR to dismiss the said employee.
Does the above incident sound familiar to any of our readers? Too often, our line managers are hasty, they don’t document any critical incidents and they want to terminate at will.
Training the line on the value of HR is a critical component to the line manager’s success. The important of documentation, how to have performance related discussions and how progressive discipline works are crucial elements of such training. Usually, the line is more receptive to such training when they are the reason the organisation must pay an ex-employee hundreds of thousands of dollars for a wrongful dismissal. Sometimes, the consequences have to become a reality first before we can truly appreciate the value of HR.