HR to play a key role coaching 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 according to Dave Ulrich.

Speaking
at a one-day seminar in London, Ulrich, professor of business at the University
of Michigan, urged the HR profession to take on the dual role of coach and
architect to their line managers.

He explained,
“HR should be able to inspire managers and help them to understand what they do
well and badly.

“HR needs
to work with managers to build a blueprint which gives them choices to help
them make decisions.”

Ulrich
argued that the HR profession ignored the administrative activities such as
processing pay roll, benefits and managing leave at their peril.

He said,
“The transaction work is critical in HR. If this is not done well, then we will
not get the chance to transform the company. 
This is the first premise of HR.”

Ulrich
urged the HR 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
in 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.

Bob
Wintsch, HR manager for British American Tobacco supported Ulrich’s views.

He said,
“I agree with the role of HR as coach and architect.  We certainly need to take on a transformational role.  Above all, HR needs to be more aware of what
drives the company’s profitability.”

One of the
delegates, Jim Butler, director of learning and development for Rolls-Royce
believes that HR directors should be sitting on the board. 

He said,
“Traditionally HR directors have come from a line manager background.  But you are now seeing more directors who
are highly qualified in their subject area.”

By Karen Higginbottom. Click here to
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