Great news, your business is growing and you have to hire more employees. But what happens when business owners delegate HR responsibilities to line management? Louise Barnes, Senior Employment Consultant at Croner looks at the implications of handing over HR to line managers.
Preparation, training and guidance key to success
If a business owner or manager starts delegating responsibilities to ill-prepared or untrained managers then the managers themselves may find themselves in employee relations situations that they mishandle or are inclined to ignore/avoid because they would rather not address them.
For employees on the receiving end of any HR processes there is likely to be some inconsistent treatment and potentially varying sanctions which could have implications in an Employment Tribunal, for example where an employee could claim unfair dismissal and argue that their dismissal was not within the band of reasonable responses because another employee within the organisation was given a completely different sanction.
A clear disciplinary, performance management and grievance policy which is supported with appropriate and regular training could prepare otherwise inexperienced people with the tools they need to do a good job.
What else should small business owners think about?
There are a number of other factors arising from a rapidly expanding work force including:
- Employees feeling that they are just small fish in a large pond – this could be countered by ensuring good levels of communication and regular business updates as well as managers being reminded to keep in touch with their team on a personal level
- A ‘presenteeism’ culture (employees working excessive hours and not taking holiday because they feel they need to be seen to be working hard – and perhaps there is a lot of work to do!)
- Practical issues like inductions and mentoring into the business might be missed or compacted so that new starters don’t feel a sense of belonging (this could also include failure to complete adequate risk assessment or missing vital health and safety or fire safety training)
- Larger teams may make management more difficult as there are so many different people to monitor and review
- Succession planning could be missed because things are moving so fast – this may represent lost opportunities for existing staff as well as meaning that new recruits are taken from outside of the organisation who have little/no company insider knowledge.
But it’s not all bad – with the right training and level of support either from the business owner or external specialists there is no reason why managers shouldn’t be empowered and given opportunities to expand their areas of expertise and experience.