How Can ‘People Management’ Principles Get The Best Out Of Your Workforce?

people-management-principles

People management is an essential concept for one reason: You get the best out of your workforce by managing them well. This ensures that employees are not simply after a paycheque, they are in pursuit of their best possible work.

How does good people management help you achieve employee satisfaction? Moreover, why is it important for HR leaders? Read on to find out…

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What Is People Management?

People management is the process of getting the most out of your workforce. When you manage your people effectively, through concentrated resources or initiatives, your business thrives. At its core, the human element of people management is what matters the most — the effect your processes have on your people.

If we break it down, the textbook definition of management (at least according to David Boddy, who wrote Management: An Introduction) is “the activity of getting things done with the aid of people and other resources.” 

But what is an official definition? According to HRTechnologist, people management is defined as “a set of practices that encompass the end-to-end processes of talent acquisition, talent optimization, and talent retention while providing continued support for the business and guidance for the employees of an organization.”

Why Is People Management Important for HR Leaders?

Managing people is one of the most complex and rewarding parts of management. It is also one that every HR leader has to deal with on a daily basis. People management is propelled by the soft skills that HR leaders need to use, in order to get the best out of employees.

What makes someone a good people manager? Firstly, a good people manager ensures their team gets things done and delivers results: one of the fundamental tenets of management. According to Hellriegel & Slocum, who wrote one of the quintessential management texts, management is about “planning, organizing, leading, and controlling the people working in an organization and the ongoing set of tasks and activities they perform.” 

That said, HR leaders know that getting work done is only the beginning. Creating workplaces that encourage people, motivate them, and help them bring their best selves to work goes far beyond mere task allocation.

Ask any employee who has worked for a bad manager and they will tell you, unequivocally: successful people management works best when a team is able to pull together in a way that allows them to produce something that is greater than the sum of its parts. In short, teamwork makes the dream work.

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10 Competencies of an Effective People Manager

As we wrote about in this blog post on 10 People Management Skills that Lead to Organizational Success, “Happy employees are more productive. And, productive companies are more successful.” 

Successful people management skills include:

  1. Having a vision/goal
  2. Being able to communicate effectively
  3. Trusting your employees, and being trustworthy
  4. Showing empathy
  5. Connecting with others and being approachable
  6. Being decisive
  7. Being able to motivate your employees
  8. Showing accountability
  9. Demonstrating problem-solving skills
  10. Enabling professional growth (for more on professional development, click here)

You can read more about each, and why they matter, by clicking this link.

Are People Management Skills Truly Necessary?

The answer lies in the fundamentals of people management. When you understand why people work (it’s far broader than simply earning a salary), how you can help them do their best work and what happens when things go wrong good people management allows anyone to get the best out of their people.

In fact, that’s the key difference between functioning and thriving organizations…

Why Do People Work?

In today’s society work serves a much greater purpose. While research by HRD Connect revealed that:

  • 72% of those surveyed do, indeed, work to live.
  • 50% say they work to support their family (50% also say they work to pay their mortgage).
  • 16% of people go to work each day solely for their fondness of their job.
  • 21% of people are in their job to build their career and knowledge.

People work for a variety of reasons. As we covered in this article on work-life balance, some people even go to work to avoid being at home!

Bearing this in mind, how can people management help people meet broader, deeper goals? The answer may lie in leveraging the skills of your employees and ensuring they are optimally motivated.

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How Can You Help Them Do Their Best Work?

As Gina Balarin describes in this blog post, employees are key to driving business success but they need help to unleash their human potential.

She explains that when you set your employees free you give them the ability to “change the world or, at least, change your organization in a way that serves your customers better.”

However, employees are only likely to want to strive to make positive change happen when they are motivated. 

Employees are generally either: 

  • Extrinsically motivated – externally-focused or related to rewards
  • Intrinsically motivation – self-motivated

However, regardless of whether employees are inherently self-motivated or not, it is possible to improve employee motivation by treating them well. This is something every HR leader should know well. 

Building effective performance management cycles can ensure that you are always getting the best from your employees, and that they’re getting the best from you. Click here to read more about this crucial process.

One of the fundamentals of good people management lies in boosting morale. Here are 12 measures for boosting employee motivation which we covered in more detail in this blog post on employee engagement

  1. Praise
  2. Clear and open communication
  3. Responsibility and trust
  4. Meaningful work
  5. Leadership
  6. Having personal goals
  7. Creating a ‘freedom to fail culture’
  8. Earning a reasonable salary
  9. Celebrating success
  10. Providing flexible working hours
  11. Enabling and promoting staff development and
  12. Providing food, drinks, and exercise

An astute reader will notice the overlap between these two lists – specifically, communication, trust, and goals.

After all, those who excel at people management are excellent communicators who are able to articulate their company’s mission (and their team’s goals within the context of that mission) clearly and who build trust with their team through clarity, honesty, and fairness. 

That said, even the best organizations can get things wrong sometimes…

What Happens When Things Go Wrong?

More often than not, companies with a high employee attrition rate or where HR managers observe warning signs that an employee is likely to quit as Patrick Cournoyer, Chief Evangelist at Peakon, describes in his conversation with our Head of Brand and Comms, Laura Schroeder, have not been paying enough attention to their employees’ happiness at work. 

When you don’t pay enough attention to people management, employees might start dreaming of greener pastures and considering whether they might be better off elsewhere. Don’t let that happen!

People Management and Performance

Effective people management also requires the very important administration and record-keeping that comes with ensuring an employee meets the standards your company sets and can be appropriately rewarded for delivering results. Let’s not forget the critical role that performance reviews, appraisals, and 360-degree feedback play.

It is, of course, important to track how well an employee is doing overtime and keep records of everything related to their performance. Software like Personio can help companies store this critical information securely on the cloud using digital employee files.

With the right tools, everyone involved in people management, goal setting, rewards, and retention has access to the information they need at their fingertips.

What’s The Key To Employee Motivation?

Employee Motivation

It’s all about being prepared. When you are able to motivate your employees effectively, you can get the best performance possible to drive the bottom line for your business.

So, how do you do it? Download our helpful checklist by clicking the link below to get started on motivating your employees in meaningful ways.

Getting The Best Out of Your Employees with People Management

There is, in fact, a 5-step framework you can use for improving happiness at work. (Or, if you want more than 5 steps – take a look at this checklist of 31 things you can do to motivate employees). In essence, employees are likely to thrive if they are given autonomy, mastery, and purpose. 

Daniel Pink describes these three elements in his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us which has sold more than two million copies worldwide. 

To summarize them briefly: Autonomy is the ability to have control over the tasks we do. Having mastery over an area of interest is about learning to be the master of an art. Purpose is about having a reason to do what you do and this is, arguably, the biggest missing ingredient in many modern companies. 

That’s partly why being able to identify and communicate core company values is so critical because, when people know what work to do and more importantly why they do it, working becomes meaningful, jobs become less of a chore and more of a pleasure, and people management unlocks the key to driving team success.

And that is, essentially, the secret to getting the best out of your people. 

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