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Human Resources
Dec 1, 2014

Line Managers – What Is Your HRIQ?

Sponsored Content provided by Dave Hoff - Chief Operating Officer and Executive VP of Leadership Development, EASI Consult

Many articles about Human Resources focus on HR’s inability to be business people and to partner with line managers. Unfortunately, that is still true in some instances, but it is a picture that is rapidly changing. Today there are more and more HR professionals who know their way around an income statement and a balance sheet. Those HR business partners can too often be challenged by line managers who lack HRIQ. What is HRIQ? In this author’s definition, it stands for Human Resource Intelligence Quotient (HRIQ).

Are any of you line managers out there saying, “What the heck is he talking about?” A good primer for the HRIQ challenged is the book Execution by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan. Bossidy was Jack Welch’s No. 2 guy at General Electric who went on to run AlliedSignal, which became Honeywell International.

The book gives line managers a step-by-step instruction manual on what demonstrating HRIQ looks like on the job. Jack Welch once said that he spent about 40 percent of his time on HR-related issues. This was the CEO of a Fortune 100 company who spent two full days a week on people issues. Let’s make sure we are on the same page. This is not answering benefits questions or conducting grievance hearings. Welch spent two days a week focusing on how he could add value to his senior management team, management team and employees so that they could help achieve GE’s financial objectives.

So what should you be doing to boost HRIQ? In my opinion, these are the HR systems that are required:

  • Selection
  • Development
  • Performance Appraisal
  • Succession Planning
Line managers, does your organization do these things? On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being low and 10 being high, how would you rate yourself and your organization in each area? Yes, I did ask you to rate yourself. These happen to be people activities that are usually housed under the HR function, but if you are not actively involved, you should not rate yourself or your organization higher than 5.

Selection. Do you have a structured interview process where the interviewers are trained in assessing the behavioral and technical competencies required for the job? Do you participate in selection and have you been trained? Anyone who asks the question, “Tell me about yourself?” should be ashamed. This is not an acceptable question to ask while making as important a decision as on selection, which is ultimately a financial decision. If you have no training and no process, you can’t get a score above 5.

Development. How do you model the importance of development in your organization? The information learned as part of the selection process should inform the person’s development plan. Huh? The person you selected for the job was the best candidate you saw. He or she did not have 100 percent of the things you were looking for and there was room for improvement. That information should then become input for the new employee’s development plan.

Do you have certain management development programs that groups of managers attend in preparation for additional responsibilities? If not, why not? If your answer is "yes," what role do you play in the program? At a minimum you need to make an appearance, demonstrate an understanding of the content, and talk about the importance of this program and why the organization is committing financial resources to it. That level of involvement is a 5 on the HRIQ scale. To get a higher score you have got to be delivering some of the content and having “action learning” projects for people to complete on the job after the program.

Performance Appraisals. Do you do them? Why do you do them? How effective are they? How do you know? When was the last time you revised them? Are 100 percent of the managers in your organization completing them for their people? There are two levels to this question – you personally and the organization as a whole. If you can’t answer all those questions at both levels, then your score can’t be above 5.

Succession Planning. Is this done at all? Is it a paper chase or are ALL open positions filled based on the identified successors? This is where many organization waste huge financial resources. Not having “ready-now” successors, at least for critical positions, is unacceptable. Having your own recruiters or search firms find your candidates is a crap shoot; having an internal or external I/O psychologist do a rigorous assessment of finalist candidates increases your chances with an outsider. Now let's assume you find a great external replacement. How long does it take to onboard and get that person to full productivity? This whole process creates a financial cost for an organization that could be avoided with an excellent succession planning program. If you don’t have a program or the program is not providing your successors, you score can’t be above 5.

In conclusion, what is your HRIQ? To not have these capabilities in your line managers means there is an opportunity to improve the financial performance of your organization. Having capable HR partners who have these capabilities and the appropriate business acumen can greatly assist your line managers in getting to where they need to be.

EASI·Consult® works with Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and mid-sized corporations to provide customized Talent Management solutions. EASI Consult’s specialties include individual assessment, online employment testing, survey research, competency modeling, leadership development, executive coaching, 360-degree feedback, online structured interviews, and EEO hiring compliance. The company is a leader in the field of providing accurate information about people through professional assessment. To learn more about EASI Consult, visit, email [email protected] or call 800.922.EASI.

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