Cooperative Line and Staff

Because both line managers and human resource managers have human resource management duties, it is useful to ask? Exactly which HR duties are carried out by line managers, and by staff managers? There is no single division of responsibilities we could apply across the board in all organizations, but we can make some generalizations.

The most important generalization is that the relationship is generally cooperative. For example, in recruiting and hiring, the line manager describes the qualifications employees need to fill specific positions. Then the human resource team takes over. They develop source of qualified applicants, and conduct initial screening interviews. They administer the appropriate tests. Then they refer the best applicants to the line manager, who interviews and selects the ones he or she wants. In training, the line manager again describes what he or she expects the employee to be able to do. Then the human resource team devises a training program, which the line manager then (usually) administers.

Some activities are usually HR’s alone. In the United States for example, 60% of tasks assigned to human resources the exclusive responsibility for pre-employment testing, 75% assign it college recruiting, and 80% assign it insurance benefits administration. But employers split most activities, such as employment interviews, performance appraisal, skills training, job descriptions and disciplinary procedures, between HR and line managers.

For example, HR alone typically handles interviewing in about 25% of firms, but in about 60% of firms, HR and the other hiring departments both get involved in interviewing. Sensing the importance of line management in HRM, many Indian firms promote HR awareness among line managers through training programs. Some firms also encourage line managers to take HR assignments at some point of their careers.

In summary, human resource management is part of every manager’s job. Whether you are a first line supervisor or middle manager or president or whether you are a production manager or country manager or HR manager getting results through committed people is the name of the game. And to do this you will need a good working knowledge of the human resource management concepts and techniques in this article.

Form line Manager to HR Manager:

Another reason to be familiar with the HR knowledge and management processes is that you may well make a planned or unplanned stop over some day as a human resource manager. A survey by the Center for effective Organizations at the University of Southern California found that about one fourth of large US businesses appointed managers with no HR experience as their top human resource management executives. Reasons given include the fact that these people may find it easier to give the firms’ human resource management efforts a more strategic emphasis, and the possibility that they may sometimes be better equipped to integrate the firm’s HR efforts with the rest of the business. It’s not unusual at all for companies to promote their line executives through HR on their way up the corporate ladder. For example, after spending about a year and a half as Wal-Mart’s chief human resource officer the company promoted Lawrence Jackson to run its global procurement division. The trend of promoting executives without any HR experience to top HR jobs is seen in India too. For instance, TV Mohandas Pai, the HR director of Infosys, was responsible for finance as the CEO of Infosys before being assigned to head HR.