Having worked in various industries in varying sizes of companies over the last 20 plus years and reading articles from various sources, there is a trend that we just can’t seem to break. People management is the role of the Human Resources department. (insert reflective pause here….)

My thoughts – “Err, no, as in hell no!”

Go and Google (or Yahoo or Bing) “The importance of HR in business” and scan the plethora of articles that purport that HR are the people in charge of hiring, firing, developing, performance managing, writing job descriptions for, etc etc, the people. Scary stuff. Not many discuss the Manager role in all of this.

Now Google (or Yahoo or Bing) “HR as part of a manager’s role”. NADA, ZILCH. ZIP. Scarier. (more reflective pausing…)

It’s no wonder we are a little confused.

Now note your body language – yes yours! If you are in the HR field you are either emphatically nodding your head, smiling and/or leaning in for more pearls of wisdom. If you are a Manager, you are either folding your arms in defense but are curious or are about to click on the delete button. Wait up! You both need to read further.

The role of a Manager is to manage – people and processes. BUT – they get too wrapped up in operational processes that managing the people becomes last on the list – not even secondary. The thought process is “well if I can just get the process right then all will be good. HR will look after the people”. HR then scramble to put policies in place to keep the people in place, put together some recognition strategies, deliver some great training and development and more and launch these with gusto. (out of breath, just reading that….right?) Yet still employees are not engaged, committed or performing. And so, I humbly ask, how is that strategy working for you?

For me the message is simple – although it requires a change in mindset and some hard work.

  1. Managers – spend time coaching, mentoring and managing your people and the operational stuff will be taken care of by them. Yes, yes there will be some operational work still required by you but develop your people through your knowledge and skill and trust them to take on the stuff you think that they can’t and you may be surprised at the results. HR cannot make the people strategies work in isolation of your effort and commitment to them. Try it – what have you got to lose?
  2. HR people – do not allow yourself to be dragged into developing policies and processes that restrict and try to manage your organisation. Yes, guide the organisation through sound HR practices but spend more time coaching and mentoring your Managers on how to manage their people through effective communication, positive relationships and those sound practices. You are the experts here – so expert effectively! Once you have helped Managers develop those skills, it frees you up to focus on other important things – oh like strategic manpower planning for business growth in line with the strategic intent of the company. Note my extensive use of “strategic” in that last sentence.

We all need to push our comfort zones in these two areas. Some key points that apply to both Managers and HR teams;

  1. Yes, it is easier for you to do it rather than spend time training and coaching someone else to do it – spend the time anyway.
  2. Let go of the things you know that you are great at and let someone else be great at it. This helps them grow.
  3. It also gives you time to develop other skills and competence outside of your comfort zone. This helps you grow.
  4. If everyone is growing and what you are doing is in line with company strategy (a topic for another time) then… this helps the company grow.

I’m not sure if it’s just me but that sounds like a great script for success!

Let’s not make up the lines as we go. Let’s be clear on the script and own it.

I would therefore like to deliver this eulogy today:

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to say good bye to HR being your staff managers and Managers being too operational. Today we embark on a new journey and say hello to a new life of Managers taking ownership of their own teams and using HR for the strategic value add purposes that enables everyone including the company to achieve its goals.

Everyone say it with me, AMEN!

If you feel you don’t have sound HR practices in place and/or need some HR coaching for your managers or your HR team – contact us at SuccessPoint Consulting for a complimentary 1-hour assessment of your business needs as a step to getting your business and/or your teams onto the script!


In terms of the Government Gazette Vol:657 Dated 26 March 2020 No 43164 - Information regarding COVID19 can be found at HERE