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Successful companies are those that empower line managers with HR skills, survey reveals

The most successful companies coming out of the recession are those that invest in their line managers - giving them the skills to be better people managers, research published this week suggests.

The International HR Barometer 2011 report is based on a survey of 758 senior HR professionals across 13 countries.

The ACE Network survey, conducted in the UK by The Scala Group, and supported by international law firm Salans and HR recruitment firm Higher Talent, showed that 60% of respondents have a talent management programme, but while 50% of these target high potential individuals, only 22% include all of their staff, and not just the 'high flyers'[.

The need for line managers to 'own' people management is regularly cited as being vital to successful change management and business performance.

Respondents to the survey reported a strong consensus that the active participation of line managers was fundamental to the success of HR planning, yet only 22% of respondents report that the majority of line managers take people management responsibilities seriously.

Janice Caplan, founding partner of the Scala Group, said: "This research indicates our talent management efforts may be better spent on line managers rather than high potentials. Line managers play a critical role in staff engagement and the success of people management initiatives, particularly within more flexible organisational structures such as matrix working, alliances and outsourcing. "

Michael Bronstein, Salans' head of employment in London, added: "It is still relatively rare to find organisations which devolve people management responsibilities to line managers in an efficient way.

"It is essential that Line Managers are given the requisite technical knowledge, as well as the soft skills they need, if companies want to minimise issues with employment law in the future."