Top employers involve managers in workforce planning

Involving managers in the workforce planning process is a hallmark of high-performing organisations, according to Top Employers Institute data

The body's HR Trends Report found that 87% of its top employers sought this involvement from managers to make sure they understand the implications across the workforce.

The research also found that a common complaint from management is that HR strategies do not involve levers that would drive business performance. It stated that this is partially because HR teams only include business leaders in HR strategies that affect the leaders themselves. For example, 95% of top employers see their business leaders as a key stakeholder for leadership development activities but only 78% do so for talent acquisition.

The report stated that getting leadership and management more involved in all areas of HR strategy could help them feel less like strategies are being 'imposed on them'.

The employers surveyed also said they wanted managers and leaders to become more involved in data and analytics, with 73% stating they are training HR managers to explain people analytics to leaders. This linked to the finding that 30% said their leaders still do not trust the metrics provided by HR.

Transparency over talent management was identified as another focus for 2019. Seventy per cent of those surveyed said that they now make it a priority to inform all employees about their talent status (how their career in the business is likely to progress), a figure that has increased by 3% since 2016.

Speaking to HR magazine, country manager UK and Ireland at Top Employers Institute Phil Sproston said that allowing for constructive criticism between HR managers and leaders is essential: “I believe that there are often many differing perspectives within an organisation; not just between HR and management but between different business units, within the management team, between managers and employees,” he said.

“In the best organisations these differences are not suppressed but encouraged – they create an inclusive culture. During the development phase of [HR] strategy it allows constructive challenge and feedback. During implementation it allows the agreed path to be scrutinised and held to account. What top employers succeed in doing is using communication and positive engagement to ensure that this challenge stays on the 'right' side of the line, and is constructive and critical rather than destructive and criticising."

Sproston added that HR professionals who are able to do this will help drive effective strategy for the wider business: “HR within leading organisations are a fundamental cornerstone of the business. In these businesses HR are not 'outside' acting as the rule enforcers, but are key drivers in stimulating and engaging with all managers and employees to help drive the strategy."

This can also help create a more transparent culture, he added: “Organisations are able to maximise the knowledge, experience and creativity of the people deeply involved in the day-to-day operational running of the business. Engaging managers with strategy also fits well with the current trend we see in increasing transparency. Top employers no longer run a parent-child transactional model where the executive team 'shield' the business from bad news. We see the most forward-thinking businesses actively sharing news – good and bad – harnessing the great potential that is held within their employees."

The Top Employers Institute analysed data from more than 1,500 of their accredited employers globally.