Article (January-2020)


(UN) divided by the notion of People

Dr. D. Prasanth Nair

Designation : -   Co-founder

Organization : -  Asynithis (Indus Partners), Mumbai


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In the present business environment, how important is to have HR skills for non HR managers in an organization?

PN First of all, all managers - whether HR or non HR, are "people managers". Secondly, I will differentiate between technical HR skills like knowledge of IR laws, design of HR systems, theories of HR among others and generic HR skills essentially dealing with people management - and think that every manager in organization should have people management skills. This is important because for every employee, the most frequent and intense relationship is with the immediate manager and hence, it is critical that the manager is skilled in HR to deal with the same

What are such minimum required skills non HR managers must acquire or develop?

PN Every manager essentially need to focus on two critical areas :

1. Create a culture where there is collaboration, creativity and ownership.

2. Managing performance in line with strategic objectives.

To enable these, managers need to change themselves before trying to change others. Towards these managers need to constantly introspect, understand self and focus on continuous learning. Managers also need to have the ability to receive feedback and work on themselves.

From a team leadership point of view, some of the other critical skills that managers need to have are :
  • Understanding individuals.
  • Ability to motivate and inspire team.
  • Ability to coach and mentor team members.
  • Planning and focus on execution at the level of team level.
  • Ability to collaborate with others.
It is generally seen that non HR managers don't get along with HR managers? What could possibly be the reasons and way out to bring both on same page?

PN An ideal scenario will be if managers working together can constantly add value to each and to the organization, help each other achieve personal and organization goals. The forces that impede this are :

  • Personality traits
  • Heightened level of self interest
  • Non aligned and conflicting goals.

Leadership in the organization can help by aligning goals, rewards and imbibing a culture of collaboration. Also individuals can be given feedback and coached towards better working together. HR folks need to understand that ultimately, their objective will be better served if all managers become better people managers - their objective is to equip and enable the same.

What are the reasons; you feel that non HR managers don't show much interest in gaining such HR skills?

PN There are some non HR managers who think managing people is HR department's job. There are others non HR managers who may not have the capability of managing people and hence don't want to get involved. Every manager who needs to be successful today and tomorrow, will realize the importance of having HR skills.

Will managing people issues become more complex if strong HR pipeline is not built through skilling non HR managers?

PN Managing people is already complex. There needs to be change of paradigm that HR department will manage people - it is neither desirable nor possible for HR to understand people across the length and breadth of organization, especially for large organizations. People need to be understood, aligned and inspired on a continuous basis, and if this needs to be achieved, the manager is best placed to do the same.