The trends of globalisation, technology and consumerism drives increased competition. We also have financial pressure that leads to ongoing organisational cost cutting. Restructuring means less people; less people means more work per employee and less time for formal training.
The competitive advantages of the past have been neutralised. This includes geographical exclusivity, quality products and access to technology and resources. To add to the challenge, there is a millennial generation that is conditioned not to believe in long employment tenure.
So, it follows that organisations believe that capability development is a critical new competitive advantage. Attracting, developing and retaining talent is a priority. From the chief executive all the way down to supervisor, there is a focus on capability development.
Employee Development is high up on each management meeting agenda. Targets are set for capability development, performance discussions, career and potential reviews.
Or is it?
Many organisations that I work with, relegate these issues to the bottom of their agendas. Line management don’t report on them, HR does. Measures and metrics are not used by Line managers to ensure employees are on-boarded, developed, managed and retained.
So, the focus is on getting line managers to understand their HR role. But entrenched behaviour does change that easily and telling managers to change does help either. The best way to get this change to happen is to change the structure that governs it. And how do we do that? What is helpful is redefining who reports on key people capability metrics. One simple way to do this is to prepare feedback for each manager and then ask the senior manager to include it on the agenda. Each manager can then give feedback. The provision of technology tools on the manager’s desk can also go a long way to improving ownership of this critical activity. In other words, is the HR technology designed for Line Manager use. Is there a friendly portal that the manager can easily pull all the relevant information?
Something I have also found useful in the past is that a line manager accountability matrix. Managers use this to self-assess themselves against criteria that defines their accountability. You can use it for capability and other key HR activities. Please contact me if you would like a copy
It is important also for HR to learn when not to speak. Intervening on behalf of managers to report on HR issues only serves to detract and weaken management accountability