Top 10 Tips for... Building effective relationships with line managers

Top 10 Tips for... Building effective relationships with line managers

Here are our top 10 tips:

1. Give them the right tools

If you want line managers to handle many of the day-to-day people management tasks, you need to make it as easy for them as possible. Make sure they have the tools, equipment and training to do these duties effectively. Make the most of integrated self- service software solutions to reduce management time for record keeping and routine tasks.

2. Offer them coaching and development

If you expect line managers to ensure employee are productive, motivate and fully engaged, you need to give them support to take on this level of responsibility. Making sure the necessary coaching and development is in place will build their confidence.

3. Be straight with them

If you are going to introduce a policy or strategy that will impact directly and increase their workload, be honest with them and ask for their feedback. Making sure they are involved in the process will make them more engaged and cooperative with the initiative.

4. Recognise them as strategic partners

Give line managers credit for their role as strategic partners of HR. Recognition and reward for these responsibilities will keep up their enthusiasm and ensure their loyalty in the role.

5. Clarify the role and business contribution of HR

If line managers don’t understand the advantages of HR’s role as a strategic business function they might feel they are being given HR responsibilities for no reason, or think they have to follow HR policies that have no relevance to the success of the business. Explaining how HR can add business at a strategic level, using concrete examples, will put HR’s contribution in context and make a huge difference.

6. Communicate with them carefully

Involving line managers in the decision making process helps establish a collaborative, cooperative relationship with HR. However, you need to time your communication carefully. If you want to get them on board and contributing to the process, don’t try to talk to them during their busiest working hours. Carve out time to talk through the issues properly. This will help them feel their contribution is valued and ensure you get the most from the discussion,

7. Keep them up to date

To perform their people management duties effectively, line managers need to know how to find the latest policy and procedure information. Make sure you provide them with an easy way to information that is up to date and comprehensive, presented in a way that makes it quick and easy to pass on to their team members. A clearly written, engaging employee handbook or interactive intranet system is a good place to start.

8. Listen to them and respect their opinions

Line managers may resist taking on transactional HR tasks and be reluctant to accept new strategic enterprises, for a number of reasons. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen to what they have to say. In fact, it’s vital that you do. Take time to listen to them properly and give them a platform for healthy discussion. If you do, they are likely to accept new challenges more easily because they feel their views have been taken on board.

9. Make use of personal performance objectives

Line managers may sometimes be reluctant to carry out additional people management duties because they feel undervalued by the organisation. Making them more accountable for these duties and including them in their personal performance objectives demonstrates that their role supporting HR is crucial to the business and shifts the perception of the line manager role within the business.

10. Give them praise

It’s an obvious one, but it works. Line managers want to feel valued in their role. When they’ve successfully implemented a new initiative, or got their staff more fully engaged, telling them they have done a great job will have a very positive impact. Getting praise for a job well done is a great motivator to ensure more collaborative success in the future.

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