HR is a vital organ for any organization and you, as HR, know it pretty well. You play a crucial and indispensible role in garnering the crème crop from the industry to make life easy for the operations team. But it is important to remember that healthy functioning of a company is possible only when there is a healthy relationship between HR and line.

This article will highlight various measures that HR department can undertake in order to build better relationships with line managers. It will also talk about how HR can ensure working in a healthy partnership with them.

Here are the tips for HR to build effective relationships with line managers. 

  1. Training Line Managers for Coaching and Development

In the modernized corporate world, line managers are responsible for a great deal of people management in addition to the regular workload they handle. They need to offer guidance to their subordinates and review their performance regularly while being accountable for discipline and redressing grievances.

Line managers need effective training to hone the skills required to do what are actually HR (people-related) responsibilities. You, as the HR manager, must work towards equipping line managers with correct tools and required training and support in order to enhance their confidence level, and so that they are able to effectively tackle these responsibilities, which are part of their role.

  1. Communication – Candid and Thoughtfully Timed        

Establishing a cooperative and collaborative relationship is in the interest of both line and HR. You can expect proactive cooperation from line personnel by being honest with them and involving them in the decision making process.

For you, introducing a new HR policy will require ample time and resources from the line. Being candid with them about its importance, the kind of involvement needed and taking their views on it, will aid easier implementation of new HR initiatives.

Most important though, is the timing of communication. Don’t expect line mangers to listen intently during their busiest working hours, pick your time thoughtfully.

  1. Hear them Out and Respect Their Views

Line managers might have a resistant attitude and viewpoint towards assuming transactional HR tasks and accepting new strategic enterprises. This happens because they do not realize the concrete benefits of HR becoming more important strategically.

But this does not reduce the importance of their views. Key HR personnel must take time to listen to them properly and create a platform for healthy discussion, which is the first step to build an effective relationship. You can expect line managers to accept new challenges more readily if you make them feel that their views are important enough to be taken on board.

  1. Easy Access to Process Knowledge

HR must offer line easy access to procedures and policies to help them execute people management tasks easily and effectively.

  1. Offering Constant Support

As an efficient HR manager, you must ensure that line managers are aware of your constant support at all times. You must make provision for regular training for managers to be up-to-date about and confident of their responsibilities.

  1. Emphasize the Importance of Line

Line managers’ antagonistic attitude usually results from a sense of their business role and support being underrated. Your department, HR, must drive a company-wide change in perception of the same.

  1. Clarifying HR’s Role and Business Contribution

Line managers often fail to see the advantages of HR’s transformation into a strategic business function. They often feel that they are unnecessarily being given HR responsibilities or have to adhere to HR policies without any relevance to business success.

You, as a HR manager, must provide them with adequate understanding of HR’s role as a strategic business partner and the potential benefits it means for the company. Explain with illustrations how HR can realize business value addition on strategic level.

  1. Recognizing Line Managers as HR’s Strategic Allies

Once line personnel appreciate the benefits of HR as a strategic business ally, you must recognize and reward line managers as strategic partners of the company and HR. This will encourage buy-in from them, make them more accountable and also boost the strength of HR-line relationship.

Lastly, it is a basic human need to feel valued for one’s contribution. And line managers are no different. Even though it may seem obvious, make sure you appreciate line managers whenever they engage employees effectively, successfully implement a new policy or are simply doing a great job!





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