Line managers remain critical stakeholders in people management – the key point of contact. They work closely with employees and manage day to day relationships and performance. For this reason, they are critical to the delivery of the people agenda in every organisation.

Generally they play a significant role in the whole employee life cycle, that is, from hire to retire. Therefore, line managers need to have a good understanding of their significant impact on the business. There is a general saying that ‘employees do not leave organisations, employees leave managers’. While this is an assertion, empirical evidence exists to support this argument. According to the CIPD HR practices in Ireland 2018 survey, over one quarter of respondents (in both public and private sectors) indicated that ineffective management/leadership was a factor in voluntary turnover.

In 2018, two different pieces of research conducted by the CIPD strongly confirmed the significance of line managers in people management. The CIPD HR practices in Ireland survey revealed that the top three factors constraining HR from effectively contributing to the business were related to line managers. These were:

  • lack of time available to carry out people management activities (64%)
  • lack of development and support for line managers (42%)
  • ineffective devolution of HR (40%)

This shows that more work needs to be done to bring line managers up to speed on people management matters and to ensure they become effective people managers. In giving credence to the importance of line managers, the survey found that 96% of organisations encourage a line manager open door policy.

Separately, the CIPD/IRN 2018 Private sector pay survey found that a key feature of performance management is line managers’ feedback in the moment. This is in addition to other approaches like annual appraisals, also conducted by line managers.

HR practices in Ireland 2018: Line managers – owning the people agenda?

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2018 survey

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