Line managers buy-in is crucial to HR’s delivery

Line managers provide the crucial link between HR and delivering business

This was the key message from the People Mean Business seminar, based on the
latest CIPD research on the link between people management and business
performance at the Royal United Hospital in Bath and Nationwide Building

John Purcell, professor of human resource management at the University of
Bath, said it is impossible for progressive HR policies to have an impact
unless line managers and team leaders actually apply them in practice.

"The degree to which line managers engage their staff and degree to
which they are trusted by their staff is crucial," he said.

Angela Hayday, formerly the associate director of leadership development at
the RUH, said the hospital’s cardiology department has managed to improve all
aspects of staff satisfaction despite the poor publicity the hospital attracted
after receiving a zero star rating from the NHS.

She believes most of the improvement is the result of better line management
putting HR polices, such as flexible working, into practice.

The hospital has extended its leadership programme to all members of staff
to develop people management skills after a pilot scheme among ward sisters
proved effective. Staff appraisals have also been adapted to include 360-degree

The staff survey shows that following the moves its employees believe they
have a better balance between work and home, are more motivated and have a
higher opinion of managers.

Julia Wallace, nurse manager at RUH, told delegates it was vital that staff
with line management responsibilities are given the skills to help them
motivate and manage their staff effectively.

By Ben Willmott

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