If hiring managers are business partners; line managers need to know hiring strategy

If we expect every hiring manager to understand the business, is it not equally important for every line managers to understand the hiring strategy of the organisation?

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Ask any HR leader, ‘What does the board expect from you?’ and the first thing they will say is, ‘They often ask us to be true business partners.’ In today’s times, CEOs look for HR leaders who, in addition to making sure all administrative tasks — such as leave and attendance management, payroll management or employee verification— are in place, will also understand the business and help the organisation achieve its mission.

In one of his books, Dave Ulrich, senior professor, University of Michigan, and co-founder, RBL Group, suggests that HR now a days is not just about HR — it is about adding value to the organisation and becoming a function that helps the company win in the marketplace.

In the current scenario, we all expect HR to create value for customers, investors and employees. They are expected to add value in such a way that it helps employees to win the marketplace for the organisation, and draw hiring strategies, which align with the goals and mission of the company. But what if we just flip the coin for a moment and discuss the reverse scenario?

“Organisations where SOPs and hiring guidelines are firmed up, and where such a firming up of guidelines is sponsored, encouraged and demanded, all managers are aligned to the hiring strategy of the company. In other organisations, however, this is practised on tribal knowledge but not necessarily ‘carved in stone’ in the policy guidelines.”

Mangesh Bhide, head – HR, technology & FTTx business, Reliance Jio Infocomm

If we expect every hiring manager to understand the business, is it not important for every other manager to understand the hiring strategy of the organisation as well? After all, isn’t every manager an HR manager first.

Talking to HRKatha, Anand Talwar, former CHRO, ITC Infotech & HR Consultant, comments that there has to be a sync in the organisational strategies. Managers cannot work in silos to produce effective results. They need to understand the organisational hiring strategies, which are drawn out by the HR and aligned to that one purpose and ultimate goal of the organisation.

“In my career, I have witnessed multiple occasions where everyone is concerned about their own department and vertical, and that is when the whole problem starts. If other managers do not understand the hiring strategy of the organisation, we cannot be in sync. Instead, we will have a situation where all managers start selecting and hiring people according to their individual or departmental needs,” says Talwar.

“In today’s times, we cannot say that hiring is an HR job only. I believe that hiring is a business and no more just an HR business. It is an inclusive process for every manager in the organisation.”

Reetu Raina, CHRO, Quick Heal

Reetu Raina, CHRO, Quick Heal, feels that the business leaders and managers need to be in sync, otherwise the usual problem of attrition and wrong hiring will arise in the organisation.

Raina shares, “In today’s times, we cannot say that hiring is an HR job only. I believe that hiring is a business and no more just an HR business. It is an inclusive process for every manager in the organisation.”

Every manager needs to understand the hiring strategy of the organisation, but do we really see this happening?

According to the experts, this problem of managers not understanding the hiring strategy is a very common one and Talwar even goes on to say that to some extent the organisation is also to blame for it. He feels that business leaders fail to give a clear message. They fail to make people understand the organisational goals and the hiring strategy aligned to them.

“In my career, I have witnessed multiple occasions where everyone is concerned about their own department and vertical, and that is when the whole problem starts. If other managers do not understand the hiring strategy of the organisation, we cannot be in sync. Instead, we will have a situation where all managers start selecting and hiring people according to their individual or departmental needs.”

Anand Talwar, former CHRO, ITC Infotech & HR Consultant

“Organisations where SOPs and hiring guidelines are firmed up, and where such a firming up of guidelines is sponsored, encouraged and demanded, all managers are aligned to the hiring strategy of the company. In other organisations, however, this is practised on tribal knowledge but not necessarily ‘carved in stone’ in the policy guidelines,” adds Mangesh Bhide, head – HR, technology & FTTx business, Reliance Jio Infocomm.

“There should be a single-minded focus on the goals, and the message should flow from the top brass and reach the managers in an effective way,” shares Talwar.

Talking from her own experience, Raina shares that wherever the hiring strategies of the organisation are clear to each and every manager, challenges such as retention, employee engagement, talent development and wrong hiring do not seem to exist.

Looking at the current scenario, we can say that organisations in which HR practices have evolved over time and where the HR is respected and regarded as a true business contributor, this problem of managers not being engaged and aligned with the hiring strategy may not prevail at all. However, other organisations will continue to struggle to get their steps right.

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