Line managers are responsible for administering the activities directly related to output or services and/or products. The position of line managers in the corporative hierarchy is close to the first-process lines, at the head of “vertical” groups, commonly centered over one product or service line. Roles of line managers are diverse and often intersect with responsibilities of finance management, risk management and HR department.
Commonly, HR departments often focuses on fulfilling their functions without involving other employees; however, line managers also have to deal with similar challenges such as managing changes, organizing teams, managing conflicts, distributing the workload, addressing customer needs etc (Drucker, 2007). Thus, to reach optimal workforce performance, HR departments have to consider line managers as human resource managers, and adjust corporate strategy in the appropriate way.
However, not all HRM functions and responsibilities directly relate to line managers. Regarding the HR functions, line managers should be able to operate personal systems, have outstanding leadership skills, should organize teamwork process, solve line management problems and establish effective communications with employees (Redman & Wilkinson, 2009). HR department needs to ensure that line managers are trained in the areas of decision-making, change management, employee motivation and master common problem-solving techniques (Redman & Wilkinson, 2009).
The responsibilities of HR department with regard to line managers include diverse help in achieving objectives, assistance in dealing with employees (e.g. a strategy which combines the efforts of HR managers and line managers) and broad analysis of methods and opportunities which can be used to accomplish particular tasks (Drucker, 2007). HR managers generally have a broader vision of the company’s strategy and objectives, and one of their functions is to provide additional perspectives and advise for line management. Thus, it is useful to train line managers to use a number of above-mentioned HR techniques. HR department and line managers need to collaborate in order to reach the best HR strategy. Supportive attitude of HR team together with timely assistance and guidance is also required to include line managers into overall management team. Nowadays in the rapidly changing environment it is important not to separate HR department and line managers in order to reach maximal flexibility and collaboration.
Drucker, P.F. (2007). The Practice of Management. Butterworth-Heinemann.
Redman, T. & Wilkinson, A. (2009). Contemporary Human Resource Management: Text and Cases. Pearson Education.