The role of line managers in HR management
“Today a career is no longer a straight climb up the corporate ladder, but rather an undulating journey of climbs and lateral moves. The proverbial corporate ladder is evolving, right before our eyes, into a corporate lattice. In contrast to the more limited options provided by the corporate ladder, the corporate lattice makes it possible for employees to customize careers — to the benefit of both the individual and the organisation. The result is an adaptive model of career progression that offers employees career-long options for keeping their work and personal lives in sync and employers the long-term loyalty of their best and brightest talent” DELOITTE. 2009. Building a Lattice Organization. www.deloitte.com.
It would be shortsighted of us not to realise the changing nature of career development and our role as HR professionals and line managers within this changing landscape. We need to know how it impacts on all our learning and development practices.
In this edition of the LeMaSa Chronicle we highlight the role of the line manager in Human Resources management as well as career management.
I wish you the best in building a productive HR/line management partnership!
“Today’s workforce is not satisfied simply with finding a job, but is intent on establishing a career. Career development is an invaluable retention tool for employees. After implementing its Career Support Program, Sun Microsystems experienced a return-on-investment (ROI) of approximately 183 percent from decreased turnover and reduced outplacement costs. In addition, employee career development plans contribute to an organization’s succession planning and leadership development programs by allowing individuals to realize their full potential within the organization” (Corporate Leadership Council, 2003).
Career Planning is a process of analysing an individual’s situation, specifying his or her career goals and exploiting the various means to realise these goals. Career development is a formal approach taken by the enterprise to ensure that employees with proper qualifications and experience are available when they are needed by the enterprise (Gerber, Nel & van Dyk, 1993). Career management is the overarching process that involves both Career Planning and Career Development.
A CIPD Survey showed that, on balance, HR practitioners believe that organisations should be adopting a “partnership model” approach to career management. In this partnership deal, individuals should “own” their own careers – but employers should support them by offering advice, support and training. The reality however, seems to be that individuals are pushed towards fulfilling their side of the “deal”, taking ownership for their own career development, but most employers are not delivering their side of the deal.
The CIPD survey shows that getting involvement in career management from line managers is still an uphill struggle. Career management activities are mostly driven by the HR function and by individuals with the Board taking rather secondary responsibility. It seems that the line will play a part but need to be coaxed and cajoled by the HR function on the one hand and employees on the other. HR practitioners need to devise ways of helping line managers support career development more effectively particularly since one of the major barriers to career management is reported as being a “lack of time” (Oglethorpe, 2010).
If organisations were really serious about line managers taking the lead in supporting the career management of their staff, they would train them to do it. Not surprisingly, the survey shows only a minority of managers receive such training. This will reinforce the “optional extra” status which career management so often has in the line – nice if you have the time and interest, but not really all that important (Oglethorpe, 2010).
THE CORPORATE LEADERSHIP COUNCIL. 2003. Implementing Career Development Initiatives. www.clc.executiveboard.com
OGLETHORPE, A. 2010. Career Management: Best Practices in Organisations and the Implications for HR. http://thecompletetrainer.blogspot.com/2010/01/career-managementn-best-p...