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Home » Blog » The Line and Support Dinosaur
The Line and Support Dinosaur
Published: Apr-02-2012

We recently got a mandate to hire a HR business partner for a Mergers and Acquisition unit of a firm. The difference in salary between the HR Manager and a peer in the M&A team for base/ fixed compensation was 100% & if you include the average variable- it would go beyond 150%. In another instance one of our clients wanted to hire a finance AVP  to manage a budget of 25 Million USD  and the compensation offered was equivalent to a level below the AVP if they had hired a similar profile in “line”

The line and support difference is imbedded in the DNA of most companies and managers, it starts with archaic management / MBA programmes . It doesn't work in todays world, here is why





  • Let us assume you get a HR Business partner who has great impact, and reduces your attrition by couple of percentage points or increases ROI on training , or increases employee engagement dramatically; he/ she will pay for themselves in the first year. The AVP finance is even easier to measure- lets say you pay top $ and get the best in the business and they help you save 10% of the budget- 2.5 Million $. On the other hand mistakes in hiring leave scars beyond their tenure in the organisation


  •  In agile and flat organisation structures there are/ should be no cost centres! Objectives and KRA's are aligned to organisation growth in a manner that you can make out the contribution of each unit .


  •  The right organisation structure hires & pays for expertise- whether its line or support. So if you are hiring a Head of Human Resource- do you know the HR expertise required for your business ? from employee engagement, compensation planning, performance management , competency mapping , e-learning and the indices to measure this expertise. The same way you know the expertise for the Marketing head- brand recognition, increase in revenue , budget control, tracking media coverage..etc.


I think the change will happen and some organisations are trying to break away from the tyranny of the line and support semantics . I would suggest the following steps

  • Top management mandate to hire the best – irrespective of function'

  • Organisation Structures and role profiles aligned to business objectives

  • Selection methodologies which can filter out expertise and business impact.


Omar Farooq

Founder and Chief Executive Officer- AceProHR




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