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Dissatisfaction down the line: study finds that line perceives HR's performance not all that good

Dissatisfaction down the line: study finds that line perceives HR's performance not all that good

Summary of key points by Jeff Sacht

1.Summary of findings

The overall survey results indicated an almost .8 correlation between the viewpoints of HR and the line, meaning there is about an 80 percent overlap between their respective points of view.

The study's findings might also need to be seen in light of the possible negative stereotyping of HR by the line or the possible tendency of line executives to focus on HR's deficiencies but take for granted the areas HR does well.

Another possibility to explain the low marks, some say, might be the inability of some line managers to differentiate between their own personal opinions or perceived needs and their viewpoint as a company representative. The high importance given by executive respondents to designing executive compensation programs, for instance, could be an example of that, they say.

1. A new study by the HR Scorecard Alliance discovers similar priorities among human resource executives and line managers on various HR activities; however, few of the line find HR's performance to be all that good. HR professionals and line managers agree: They are dissatisfied with the performance of their human resource departments.

2. Just slightly more than three of 10 line managers (34 percent) of a select group of companies surveyed by Watson Wyatt Worldwide rated the performance of human resources as good.

3. On the HR side, less than half of the executives (46 percent) rated HR performance as good (nothing to exactly stand up and cheer about!).

4. The findings also indicate that "spending was not particularly well aligned with priorities," Pfau says. Some HR functions deemed most important by line managers were not big recipients of HR budget allocations, according to the survey. For example, retention ranked third in importance but was 44th in spending rank (there doesn't seem to be a disciplined rhyme and reason to how resources are allocated by the perceived importance or value of these activities, either by the line or by HR).

5. Among the biggest gaps between the importance given to specific HR functions and the ratings by line executives of HR's performance are succession planning, workforce planning, retention, performance management and remediation, career and individual development planning, high-potential programs, and developing and designing compensation programs and strategies.


The results of survey can provide "a good tool" to start a conversation between HR and line executives on the role of HR

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Gary Watkins

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