Double role for HR in handling line managers

HR managers can make a real contribution to a company by seeing themselves
as "architects" with a responsibility for guiding their line
managers, leading HR thinker David Ulrich claims.

Ulrich, professor of business at the University of Michigan, urged HR
professionals to take on the dual role of coach and architect to their line

At a one-day seminar in London, he said, "HR should inspire managers
and help them understand what they do well or badly.

"It needs to work with managers to build a blueprint which gives them
choices to help them make decisions."

But Ulrich said the profession ignores administrative activities such as
payroll, benefits and managing leave at its peril.

He said, "If this is not done well, we will not get the chance to
transform the company. This is the first premise of HR."

Ulrich urged delegates to get line managers more involved in the profession
by getting them to conduct best practice studies and put HR issues on the
agenda at staff meetings.

He predicted that as HR took on a more strategic role, it was increasingly
likely that chief executives of the company would come from an HR background.

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