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Why every manager needs HR training

Memory Nguwi

THE moment one goes into a managerial role, the larger part of that job is in managing people. Given this responsibility, managers would need to have enough depth to deal with human resources issues coming their way. I have noted that the human resources training found in most degree programmes that are non-HR is too theoretical such that most managers have no idea how to apply it to the day-to-day management of the people.

Here are key areas every manager who is not in human resources needs to be trained in.

1. Every manager needs to understand the basics of all labour statutes. The areas of focus under this would be understanding labour rights in the constitution. A cursory look at most complaints against managers reveals that some managers have no idea about the rights of employees.

Managers should also be taught how to handle disciplinary issues. The majority of cases are being lost simply because the manager believes they have unfettered power to fire people. What they are not aware of is that they have to follow due process. Even in cases where an employee has committed what the manager considers to be a grave offense, they are still expected to respect the rights of the accused until the case of the accused is placed before a competent tribunal. They would also need to under the role played by trade unions and National Employment Councils in promoting industrial relations.

2. The second important part for managers is for them to have an appreciation of how employees get paid. They need to understand the basics especially how remuneration can drive performance is structured properly. Unfortunately in most organisations setting salaries is the prerogative of the human resources department together with the CEO.

The rest of the managers are in the dark. They do not even know how much their subordinates earn. Every manager needs to be taught the basics in pay structuring including the design of performance incentives. They need to understand how important their role is in influencing the performance of employees.

3. The third area is performance management. The manager plays a role in managing performance. In practice, we have noted that performance management is something the managers dread a lot. They think it is an HR function. The truth is that performance management is every manager’s responsibility. This starts with understanding how their department or section supports the overall performance of the business. This is followed by having the capacity to set goals for subordinates and understanding and putting together a mechanism for assessing the performance of each subordinate. This process is often down haphazardly because managers do not prioritise performance as their responsibility.

4. The fourth areas is understanding and interpreting human resources policies. On the policy front if things have been structured properly the organisation would separate the human resources policies and procedures manual from the Staff Handbook. The manager is the custodian of the human resources policies and procedures manual. They must be able to interpret it properly for the benefit of the organisation. They will need to be trained in understanding the policies and interpretation of those policies in practice. The Staff handbook speaks to the employee directly on policy issues.

5. The fifth area and probably the most important one is recruitment and selection. Managers need to understand the whole recruitment and selection value join. For example, most managers are poorly equipped to interview people meaning they are poorly equipped to hire the right people. They have not been trained in the interviewing process. They have not been trained to do probation reviews.

There are many more important areas in which managers who are not in HR need training. Your organisation will benefit immensely by designing a training program that will assist all non HR managers.

Nguwi is an occupational psychologist, data scientist, speaker and managing consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a management and HR consulting firm. — https://www.linkedin.com/in/memorynguwi/ Phone: +263 4 481946-48/2900276 or mobile: +263 772 356 361 or e-mail: mnguwi@ipcconsultants.com or visit www.ipcconsultants.com

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