When the HR agenda item comes up at your management meetings, who does the senior manager look at? HR or the line manager? In most organisations it is the HR person. But think for a moment about finance. When the subject of budget variances comes up at the management meeting, who does senior management look at? The accountant or the Line manager. Line managers who are accountable must report on why there are variances. Why the difference?
One of the fundamental principles of accountability is reporting back. So, if line managers are accountable for something, then they should report back. Sometimes HR and L&D are their own worst enemies because they relish the opportunity to give feedback. Perhaps it makes them feel they are contributing. Possibly they see it as their partnering role.
In fact, this often serves to take accountability away from managers. A simple scorecard with key HR metrics is a useful way of transferring the accountability. The approach to getting this implemented starts with identifying a few key metrics to report on monthly. Included would be standard HR metrics. The number of vacancies, number of assessments completed or performance contracts set. It could also include appraisals conducted, training courses attended etc.
The key to ownership transfer is to first get agreement from the senior manager to present the scorecard at the meeting. But the point must be made that line managers will give feedback on the respective items. Then these managers must in turn be given some assistance to prepare feedback. So, by influencing both the senior manager and assisting his or her direct reports, the change of behaviour is orchestrated.
If this happens for several months, it starts to become entrenched as common practice. Managers get used to reporting back and start taking the initiative to prepare without being prompted by HR. When there is sufficient buy in by managers, is also useful to introduce a self-assessment of Line HR accountability. This clarifies for managers what good looks like. It helps to speed up the required behavioural change.
Click on the link for an example of a simple HR for Line Accountability Matrix
Click for more about Aspiration Software. Technology that drives Line HR ownership