The Broken Telephone – HR Versus the Line Manager

If you’ve ever gone through the job acquisition pipeline you’ll know that it can be smooth or it can be a mess. The more people involved in the process, the more convoluted, stressful and often illogical it is. When your CV has to land on the desks of any number of individuals whether in different departments or not; the selection process suddenly becomes equally as difficult and time-consuming as that of electing a new president. The biggest problem? It’s the disconnect between the department in question and human resources. In the game of HR versus the line manager, no one wins.

Different Job Specs

So while HR and the line manager are unable to agree on things as simple as the job spec, the position becomes harder to fill. Clear communication and compromise are essential if the two departments are to build and maintain similar goals. Opposing personalities and viewpoints need to be set aside in order to find the right candidate for the job.

Stay in Your Lane

Even if everyone is familiar with their responsibilities there are still blurred lines, egos and opinions. Human resources is there to see that issues are dealt with fairly in accordance with company policy and within the bounds of the law. The line manager’s responsibility lies in meeting goals and monitoring production. The two directives need to find a way to coexist.

Stepping on Toes

Problems arise however when human resources and the line manager are unable to communicate effectively and form a cohesive strategy. Second guessing an expert rarely goes well. When things get really bad and the two departments are at loggerheads; taking a step back and listening to each other is the only way to resolve this situation. Each person needs to have the room to assert a fair amount of their previous experience in their field as well and their education in their respective fields.

The Bigger Picture

The bigger picture actually goes beyond that of adhering to the law and hiring the right person. The bigger picture lies in the strategy behind each hire. Finding candidates with valuable skills which will come in handy as well as coming up with succession plans for existing staff members. The benefits are realised in the form of reduced cost per hire and an all-around better hiring process.

Illogical Processes

More than anything, illogical processes are the biggest hindrance to hiring new staff. Good candidates don’t hang around for long – they get snapped up by companies which are faster and more organised. In situations where candidates have to go through four interviews with different departments and people, write seven programming tests and endure five psychometric tests and still wait three months for an actual offer… their commitment to the process is under exceptional strain. Any candidate will think twice if the process is so convoluted and in the end, you will probably lose the candidate altogether.

Finding a Solution

The best solution to finding common ground between the two parties is for the human resources department and the line manager to:
• Ensure the job spec is accurate and complete
• Determine the skills and qualifications required
• The line manager to be trained by HR in legal and employee relations issues
• The HR manager to have an intimate knowledge of how the company works
• Agree on a set of end goals together

So now you know – there is a way for human resources managers and line managers to coexist peacefully. It may not always be a smooth ride the benefits are far-reaching for both the company and everyone involved.

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