It’ll come as no surprise that people are the bedrock of any organisation; however, too many leaders and HR professionals underestimate the power of people management in driving forward company objectives. After all, stellar staff are developed by stellar management.
With CIPD’s Scotland conference taking place this week (2 March), we thought the time was right to focus on HR’s capability to implement solutions related to strong people management that can contribute significantly to business success.
People are the central element of organisational change, so strategies that focus on systems and structures alone are doomed to fail. In order to improve performance, managers need to work actively on the ground with their staff to implement successful and sustainable change. As such, it’s crucial for companies to constantly assess and improve their people management and leadership skills so they can boost their employees’ careers, increase productivity and grow the business.
What is good people management and what effect does it have?
Employees with a high level of engagement in the workplace are more likely to contribute to a company’s success. This is because they’re more willing to apply themselves above and beyond their basic remit to accomplish tasks that help the organisation to achieve its goals. Research also shows us that employees who consider themselves as working for an effective manager score up to 400 per cent higher on engagement assessments than those who believe their manager to be incompetent. It’s therefore vital to understand what good people management is.
A good manager is increasingly being seen as someone who empowers their workforce and creates an environment in which a journey of engagement is possible. This involves keeping staff informed of business objectives; treating each person as a unique individual and asking them what they personally want out of the company; making use of their ideas; practising open, reciprocal communication; and investing in training for staff to reassure them that they have a promising future with the company. Of course, the behaviour of managers should also always be consistent with the values of the organisation.
Those who feel like a valued member of a team and an instrumental component in driving the company’s success – and therefore find their work personally rewarding and exciting – are more likely to feel a sense of loyalty to the business and work harder.
However, the benefits of good management extend beyond bolstered efficiency (and our blog on ways to increase productivity gives other techniques). Those who are satisfied with their manager are much more likely to have confidence in the organisation’s future and can therefore be expected to stay with the business for longer – a huge advantage for employers.
Implications for HR
If positive change is to be brought about by way of effective people management, HR professionals not only need to establish the processes to facilitate this, but also act as leaders themselves and develop the leadership skills of managers across the company.
Naturally, this means devolving people management responsibilities to managers themselves, allowing the HR division to focus on the wider issues and the overall people strategy. Based on knowledge of managerial effectiveness, the HR team should then be able to outline the requisite skills and behaviours required of managers and use this as criteria when it comes to training and recruitment.
By making such efforts, HR teams will be able to influence employee engagement levels and directly improve the performance of the business as a whole.