Human Resource Management evolved from personnel departments which were previously called common sense. However the gradual disappearance of common sense from modern life has allowed a new professional body to arise who are experts in managing humans for improved performance.
My experience working at the pointy end of sports science and medicine for twenty years brought me into contact with coaches who are masters of this dark art and others who were technically skilled in their sport but could not bring it out in their teams or athletes.
So in an effort to short cut your learning process in Human Resource (people) management here are five key points to take on board.
- People generally don't or won't manage themselves. Never assume because a person (employee, partner, contractor, patient, referrer) is intelligent, conscious and cooperative that they will manage their efforts in any way to your advantage. You will need to provide a structure and systems to ensure their performance is contributing to your goals as well as their own.
- Hire attitude over talent. It is much easier to teach skills than it is to teach personality. When looking for staff be very clear on the skills you are seeking and once the base line for those has been met turn your attention to which remaining candidate possesses the right balance of values, aptitude, attitude and capacity to deliver within your organisation.
- People don't leave jobs, they leave people. The most common reason for loss of quality staff (the only ones you will miss) is some conflict or discomfort in the workplace. It may be a workmate or it might be you. Recognise the problem and if you can't change the dynamic to the advantage of both parties one of them will leave. Be very clear who you want to keep and why.
- Workers contribute to their maximum when they feel valued. Not when they are valued, but when they FEEL valued. If the first acknowledgement of value appears in an employees departing reference it is way too late. Shame on you. Take the greatest care not to be so busy with your own tasks and roles such that you don't see and remark on the ordinary efforts your team puts in day after day. And if there is an extra-ordinary effort CELEBRATE it in front of everyone.
- Money is rarely the strongest motivator for improved performance. There is no doubt money is important as we all need to meet our obligations, but beyond a certain level more money is decreasingly likely to generate engaged, motivated and high performance employees. A fair compensation package will bring adequate performance, but add some of Number 4 (above) and you will see a greater return from your human resources (ie: people).
Across the professional disciplines that I have worked with (allied health, legal, finance, personal care) the common challenge is managing the people in their businesses. How to recruit, train, motivate, engage and dismiss the right people to ensure the business grows and the day to day worries are reduced. This is not easy, and it is not a skill in which most business owners are trained. But if you are interested in improving this area of your business I believe you will get great value from my workshop on herding cats. See where it is happening in the event side bar. Click through to register.
Craig Allingham MBA, FSMA, NSAA APAM
Director, Practitioner Business Academy