It is pertinent to start this essay by attempting to define the role and relevance of HR Managers and line managers in an organization.human resource management is a management function that enables managers to train ,recruit select and develop the members of an organization (Aswathappa, k,2007).
HR managers are managers responsible for delivery of basic HRM services such as recruiting, hiring, training, organizational development, coaching, employee relation, communication, leadership, advice, salary and benefits, team building of staffs within an organization including the well-being of people and relationship between management and employees (Susan, H, 2012).On the other hand, line managers are managers that are responsible for the administrative management of individuals, direct management of staffs within an organization and the supervision and discipline of their employees and performance appraisal (John ,F ,2012) .It must also be noted that line managers have the power to influence the employees behavior (cascio,2008;cited in faisal et al ,2011).
Apparently, there is a distinction between the responsibilities of a HR manager and that of a Line manager. While the former serves to engage labour, the latter deals with labour. However, there is a compelling need for Interaction between the HR mangers and line managers.
Interaction between the HR mangers and line managers
The need for interaction between the HR manager and the line manager cannot be overemphasized. It is very essential within an organization and a research carried out by Stockton Borough Council (2011) showed that there is an existing culture of both managers working together to address people management responsibilities. The research also showed that line managers were ready to take up more responsibities to deal with poor staff performance without direct access to HR support and going through the required training on the task like conflict management. For an organization to be fit for current and future challenges, Line managers have to be involved in the development and review of HR policies (Liz,F. 2012).
Furthermore, mark et al (2012) pointed out that the establishment of corporate agility and its basic cultural responsibilities require a close and adequate interaction between the HR manager and line manager. HR sets up new policies and systems but the line manager is responsible for the application of these practices and policies. Technically, the HRM proposes while the line manager disposes (Armstrong ,M ,2012)
In view of the above, it is safe to conclude that for a high level of organizational performance to be achieved, there has to be a structured implementation of these policies. The onus lie on the line manager to implement thus he occupies a very important position in the organizational structure (Michael , A ,2012).
MacDonald, L (2012) argued that in small businesses without a HR specialist, the line managers can take up the responsibility of recruiting and management of staff. Even in larger businesses where there is a HR specialist or department to oversee the employee management policies and practices, the line manager still plays a major role in the implementation of HR initiatives.
In addition, Mayhew, R.(2012) pointed out that the HR and line manager interact together to handle and execute certain activities such as department staffing, workforce strategy, performance management, and conflict management in the organization. The main reason why both managers work together is because they share a common interest of ensuring that the company is successful. The line manager thus becomes very effective in the tactical aspect of HR while the HR manager has more time to focus and work on the strategic aspect of HR management (Mayhew, R,2012). The ultimate goal is that the interaction between the HR manager and the line manager brings in the concept of HR business partnering.
According to Ulrich, D & Brokebank ,B. (2008) the concept of HR business partnering is for HR professionals to collaborate with line managers or business leaders to achieve a common objective ,specifically in the designation and implementation of HR systems and processes that support strategic business and in restructuring of business strategy and transformation of the HR.However, there has been an overlap of power between the HR and the line manager. It has been established that the operational aspect of HR management is the reason behind the relationship among the two managers. Some models such as the three legged stool model and the four-role model which operate together under the same principles was invented by Dave Ulrich. It has helped to explain the HR business partnering and the interaction between HR managers and line managers (ken,2011).
Furthermore, notwithstanding that the HR department is totally responsible for the HRM activities,line managers share same responsibilities. Line managers have the power to influence the employee’s behavior which is the reason for the HR-line manager relationship. Truss and Gratton (1994) pointed out that “line managers play a crucial role in coordinating the resources that enable an organization achieve its goal”. In other words, it is absolutely necessary for a line manager to understand how HR practices and procedures are conducted so as to ensure a successful implementation of HR in an organization. (Huchison and Purcell, 2003; cited in Faisal et al, 2011).
In addition, line managers are dependent on the HR managers for assistance in knowledge sharing and facilitation and for this to be achieved there has to be series of work relationships between the both of them (Macneil ,2003;cited in faisal,2011). line managers can also achieve full integration of the HR into a company’s real work through working in partnernership with the HR therefore leaving the HR totally responsible for the delivery of organizational excellence (Ulrich, 2008) .The HR is way too big and important to be left just for the specialist therefore it is required of the line manager to take up a role on development of peoples performance they have to manage (hearty and morley,1995;cited in Faisal et al ,2012).
According to Ulrich, D.& Brokebank ,B.(2011)The three- legged model is based on three basic components viz: the HR shared services ,HR centres of excellence and the HR business partners. This model helps to assign and explain the roles of the HR specialist, line mangers. It gives reasons and shows how the business partnering play a role in restructuring of the HR (ken,2011).
Furthermore, the HR shared services is a single large unit responsible for handling all routine transactional services that include payroll, provision of corporate services and advices based on employee relations across the organizations, absence monitoring and the recruitment and routine administration (mark et al,2010).
Centre of excellence involves a team of HR professionals that have a deep knowledge on the leading-edge HR solutions. The major role is the use of the HR innovations to give businesses a competitive advantage and HR business partners which involves the HR professionals working together with the line managers to steer and influence strategy and its implementation (cipd, 2011).
Integration of the business and HR strategies
According to Briggs and Keogh (2001) “the integration of business and HR strategies is the key tool in achieving business excellence”. A previous study by the Aberdeen group (2009) has shown that the best way that organizations and businesses can overcome economic instability and dilemma caused by the economic downturn is by the HR executives collaborating closely with the business managers to understand business success criteria by aligning their human capital management priorities with the overall business objectives and goals. This study also pointed out that the HR has to collaborate with business managers to be able to determine the appropriate HR strategy needed for a strong and effective business outcome (Fabugais, C ,2011) .
A case study on McDonalds has shown that high quality products require quality people to produce, design and deliver them and, therefore for a business like McDonalds that offers a large element of personal service to maintain its reputation it has to focus more on HRM in terms of recruiting high quality employees and have the ability to train and retain its staffs (The times 100.2012). McDonalds has been one of the largest and fastest growing global restaurant with their success directly linked to the their ability to implement HR practices in terms of recruitment and training policies designed specifically to attract, identify, develop and retain high number of staffs needed for the business. Customer satisfaction can be linked to the effectiveness, attitudes and abilities of employees to provide those services that attract and satisfy customers (The times 100.2012).
According to Sung, J. and Ashton ,D (2002) “high performance work practices is one of the HR strategies implemented in businesses that has brought positive and organizational outcomes”. This HR strategy is categorized into three different components viz: the high employee involvement practices which is focused on encouraging communication and trust between employees through quality circles; self-directed teams and by giving them access to the company information followed by the human resource practices (HRP) that involves a highly sophisticated processes of recruitment of employees, work mentoring and design and performance appraisals. It also involves the reward and commitment which is focused on facilitating greater commitment of the employees in the organization by providing the employees rewards such as profit sharing, performance related pay, job rotation and family friendly policies (sung, J and Ashton,D.,2002).
A survey result on the correlation between the level of HPWP adoption and organizational outcomes by HPWP bundles has shown that the correlation of the three bundles of HPWP working together is positively linked to organizational outcomes and leads to the improvement of organizational performance through the motivation, satisfaction and commitment of staffs, provision of effective communication, teamwork while the correlation of the two bundles the “HR and reward and commitment” helps in creating a good sense of job security (sung, J and Ashton, D, 2002).
Previous case studies derived from samples of companies included in the “Sun Times 100 best companies to work for 2004” have demonstrated a good practice in a range of HPWPs and benefits of implementing HRWPs in organizations. A case study on the Bacardi martini UK which is a successful company known to be a leader and inventor of “ready to drink” market with the business strategy of managing change and innovation through value based and people culture is a classical example. This company has remained successful through the implementation of HPWPs by creating a series of organizational values to guide, communicate and reward behavior appropriate to team performance.
It is not in doubt that a strict adherence to these practices has provided the company with an agile team leading to overall improvements and success of the company. This is evident in improvement of production process efficiency of the company to 4.4 million pounds per year. There was an increment in the service level in warehousing and distribution from 85% to 97% . There was also a reduction of line filler changeover time from 4 hours to 75mins. Elimination of overstock with no failure in delivery on customer order. Reduction in pallet holding from 1.2 million to 457000k pounds and a reduction in the production line packer hangover time from 110minutes to 60 minutes policies (sung, J and Ashton,D.,2002).
At this juncture, it is pertinent to acknowledge that PACT is an acronym for productivity, accountability, creativity and teamwork. PACT is another HR strategy implemented in the Bacardi martini UK company which has shaped and organized the processes of recruitment in the company .The strategy is to access the competence of the companies employees in line with the PACT values of the company (sung, J and Ashton,D.,2002).
Furthermore, a case study on the I -study a digital media agency that has successfully achieved a turnover of 12.3 million pounds and gained the credit and gotten an award in five years as being one of the most innovative digital media company in UK, the company’s business strategy is focused on spotting new products and finding out a new approach and building a new industry. The success of this company is fully linked to the implementation of the HR strategies, by the company using the work redesign to remove hierarchy and encourage participation, creativity, communication and a collaborative teamwork and recruitment of effective employees based on personal attributes necessary to win over new business (sung, J and Ashton, D., 2002).
So far the studies on HRM strategies have shown that its very necessary and important for a business aiming to grow business growth, and the Intergration of the HR strategies into businesses enables business to increase their performance and productivity ,the HR practices play important in every aspect of business that helps in achieving this success ,thus the reward and recognition is directly linked to the motivation of employees which can be linked to a high level of their productivity in the organization, also in terms of training ,the training ,development outsourcing of the right staffs, helps in achieving business success aswell.it will be recommended that every organization wanting to increase the performance of their staffs and productivity should implement both the strategic and operation aspects of the HRM which is where hiring of the a professional HR managers and the line managers play an important role to properly manage these activities in an organization.