Devolving HR Responsibilities to Managers

Re:  People Managerment (April 2015):  'Can We Fix Managers?'

I have noticed a trend to devolve more and more HR responsibilities to managers.  I was pleased to see this noted in a recent article in People Management magazine.  Can anyone explain why the HR sector is moving toward this trend? And are managers being trained to take on these responsibilities?  Depending on the industrial relations landscape at an organisation, managers could spend a lot of time on HR issues, leaving reduced time and energy for the business.

  • Welcome to the communities.

    It all rather depends on what you mean by HR Responsibilities I guess. Over the last 10-20 years more and more organisations have been slimming down their HR functions, rationalising the transactional elements and leaving a smaller core HR team who deal with the long term and the strategic. Well that's the theory at least.

    Its considered more efficient and cost effective to have fewer professionals (in HR and elsewhere) who are responsible for creating the architecture (policies, procedures, frameworks, culture etc) but not who then go on to do it.

    Line Managers have the responsibility for taking this architecture and effectively implementing it. The old phrase "you join organisations you leave managers" is probably true - it is managers who need to create the relationship with their staff and to do this they need to manage them. HR (or any other profession) getting in the way of this relationship is both detrimental and inefficient for me.

    Reduced energy for the business ? - it is the business of delivering results through their teams that should be their prime focus so its right they take responsibility for this.

    Of course many Managers don't like doing this - they want to retain their own  professional specialism without getting their hands dirty (I exaggerate) with the messy business of managing people. But that's no longer  the deal on the table.

  • I would concur with Keith - it depends on what you mean by HR responsibilities. Could you clarify?

    For example, in my business I expect managers to conduct selection interviews, carry out performance reviews, coach in the workplace, chair capability/disciplinary/grievance meetings and so on - with HR providing guidance and advice where necessary.All of these I see as responsibilities of people managers. And yes, managers need to be trained to manage people.

    I do not however expect managers to, for example, wage model or negotiate costs for company car provision or pension fees.