HR and management teams are always the closest departments in an organization but it's important that they are able to work in tandem. If there are problems that affect the smooth running of both teams, it can be a massive obstacle for HR when it comes to implementing organizational changes or introducing new initiatives.
Whether it's blissful ignorance, a misunderstanding, or a bid to do it their own way, managers can sometimes struggle to adhere to the rules set out for them. If this is the case, entire teams or even departments may suffer and projects or initiatives can quickly fail.
So how do you make sure managers follow the rules?
1. Keep in regular contact
Depending on the running of the organization, it's likely that managers have the autonomy and jurisdiction to do a number of things. From hiring new staff to setting salaries, signing off promotions and approving annual leave, there are a variety of things under a manager's control that can have a hefty impact on the business as a whole.
This means it's essential that HR has regular contact with management teams. Whether a formal meeting or casual check-ins, it should be a two-way conversation where managers are able to express concerns, while HR are able to set the objectives for the near future. These are valuable opportunities to keep a close eye on managers that need it to ensure they aren't veering off course at any point.
By maintaining regular contact, it also prevents any rogue behavior from getting too out of hand or becoming too damaging to the company. When conducted properly, these meetings should give leadership the framework they need to make decisions on their own that fit into HR's wider strategy.
2. Get their buy-in
Like any area of business, a good relationship between HR and management is based on mutual respect. This can be started with open, two-way conversations but needs to be organically developed by understanding the challenges and concerns that are raised during these meetings. Ignoring what leadership teams say, or agreeing but having no intention of doing anything about, it will damage the trust between you and make it less likely that they will want to support you.
Getting the buy-in from managers early on is important if you want any scheme or change to be a success. It ensures that they will follow the rules you set out, but also that they are engaged with it, which can have a considerable impact on whether it fails or not.
3. Prioritize communication
Not all managers will have time to meet with you every time you need to discuss something or you may have to liaise with people who work in a different location. Either way, finding communication channels that work for both parties is crucial for getting management onboard with the rules HR set out.
Whether it's an online tool like Slack or just using the phone instead of sending an email, taking the time to find out these preferences can have a massive impact on how well the two departments work together and how well you understand each other. This will also mean that if you - or they - have questions surrounding hiring, firing or anything else, it's quick and easy to get in touch.
4. Get higher support
Having support from higher up is essential if you're going to get the more stubborn managers to listen to the rules. Talk to c-level executives to make it clear what you have the autonomy to do and that there is clear support for the rules from higher up. Having them publically express this can be an effective way to ensure people follow the objectives set out, but enthusiasm may wane as time goes on. If this happens, you can reiterate that this has come from higher up in the business and it's important that everyone in management is onboard with the process.
Having the support of decision makers means you can also get them to encourage managers in a certain direction if you are struggling to get their buy-in.