How HR Savvy is your Management Team?

March 8, 2018

Would you trust your management team to deal with a complex HR issue? Could they have a sensitive conversation, without putting their foot in it? Isobel explains how to ensure your management team is HR savvy.

By Isobel Hallam

Lots of companies spend hours devising policies and procedures that align with their values, are jargon free and cover all possible eventualities. This is a great foundation, and a starting point to be able to manage employees to get the best outcomes – however, it is only the first step of the process.

Ensuring that policies are interpreted and implemented in the way they are intended is the next big hurdle to face…

Managers are often promoted because they are amazing at the technical aspects of the job they do – which is obviously great! However, they can sometimes lack the people management aspect of the role, particularly in smaller businesses where there are just not the resources available to employ dedicated people managers. Crucially however, it’s often the people that make or break your business, so ensuring you manage them effectively is a big deal.

So how do you make sure that your management team know as much about people management as they do about their ‘day’ job?


This is the most important starting point. Don’t expect managers to just know, or they will find out when they have to. You need to do more than just tell them what the policy is, you need to train them so they truly understand, so they get it, and are bought into the way you want employees to be managed in your business. This may take time – there’s a lot to cover, and different managers will be at different levels and have had different experiences, so don’t try to rush it! See it as a long-term initiative rather than a quick win.

Ask employees

So, you have done extensive interactive training that everyone loved and raved about, but are they actually putting what they learnt into practice? The only way you will really find out is if you ask the employees they manage.

Conduct an anonymous employee survey, find out if anything has changed, are the initiatives that they started during the training still being done? What else could be done better? If there are differences from across the teams, then find out why and work out what you can do to iron them out. Be sure to take employee comments seriously, and feedback to them about what you have learnt from the survey and any changes that will be implemented as a result.


If a manager hasn’t experienced a certain issue before – even though they kind of know what to do because they did the training and understand the policy – they may still need someone to hold their hand whilst they manage the issue. Is this something you have time to do? Can managers support each other? Or do you need to find help from elsewhere?


Once a situation has been addressed and comes to a close, then review what has happened. What did the manager do that went really well, and what did they do that they and the rest of the business could learn from? It may also be beneficial to get the whole management team to review the situation in a supportive way and learn from each other’s cases!

And if you need any help with any of the above, you know where we are. 

Leeds based HR180 is a team of superheroes in HR Outsourcing, Projects and Consultancy committed to work in partnership with organisations of all sizes to establish working policies to go above and beyond Employment Law requirements, to protect both employees and employers alike. We love to hear from you, so call us on 0113 287 8150 or hit the Rescue Me button.

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