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People Management

16 Jul 2021

four women having a conversation

Employees are arguably the most important asset of any business. Their performance has a massive impact on the overall success and profitability of your company. But it’s not enough to just throw money at the problem. You can’t just rely on skilled workers to boost your business and it takes more than just training to improve the efficiency of your staff.

This is where it helps to be a good people manager. This can sound like a vague concept that is closely related to human resources, but it’s more akin to developing a great employee experience that stems from positive company culture.

What Is People Management and Why Is It Important?

People management is closely related to human resource management. It’s all about organising employees to optimise the way your business performs. There are many different components to good people management, including but not limited to:

  • Scouting out potential recruits and if they’re a suitable fit for your business.
  • Training the right employees with the skills they need to contribute to your company.
  • Mentoring and guiding employees that need assistance to be the best they can.
  • Empowering employees with the right tools so they can reach their maximum potential.
  • Encouraging effective communication and teamwork to reach a common goal.

But why exactly is people management important? This sounds like an obvious question with an obvious answer, but it helps to truly understand the benefits of good people management skills instead of just consolidating it into one benefit such as “optimising your business”.

It leads to happier employees

When your employees receive proper training and are able to nurture their careers, it leads to a much more positive work environment that encourages your staff to push towards their goals. When staff are happy, it improves your company morale which offers a plethora of other benefits such as reducing burnout, improving employee retention, and boosting job satisfaction. If staff are enjoying their job and are happy to come into work, then they’re more likely to work hard and go the extra mile for your company.

It promotes effective communication

Establishing a work culture that promotes good people management strategies can also make it easier for teams to communicate and understand their role in your business. This leads to a much more productive and efficient business because team members are more likely to collaborate and coordinate their efforts. Great people managers are able to encourage communication between teams that wouldn’t normally interact. They help to bridge the gap between different departments and teams which can be especially important during situations like a pandemic where communication is strictly online, making it difficult for teams to coordinate without a manager to mediate and organise meetings.

It makes resolving conflict a lot easier

Great people management skills make it easy to manage conflicts among staff, with clients, and also with other businesses. Employees who have a leadership position play an important role when it comes to resolving conflict because they’re the people that everyone else looks towards for assistance and advice. Mediating conflicts between team members can lead to faster conflict resolution and will also establish a more friendly work environment. It can also help you garner respect from your staff members and also improve relationships between team members.

It helps establish a positive company culture

Excellent people management skills are the foundation of a positive and long-lasting company culture that will define how future team members integrate with your team. People management strategies can evolve over time, but they’re typically based on your company culture. This leads to a much simpler decision-making process when your team is presented with a problematic scenario, and it also nurtures staff for future generations who will embrace your company culture and continue to evolve it.

It offers a competitive advantage

A team that works well together is a competitive advantage over businesses that don’t focus on employee engagement. Effective people management has a huge impact on your bottom line and ultimately leads to a more profitable and successful business.

This isn’t a comprehensive list of every benefit that one can expect from great people management, but it should give you a good example of what’s possible if you focus on improving your leadership skills and empowering your employees.

How Can You Help Your Employees Do Their Best?

Now that we understand some of the biggest benefits of effective people management skills, how do we go about helping our employees do their best work? People management is all about soft skills. This refers to skills that can fit into any workplace and generally include things related to your attitude, motivation, manners, personality, and flexibility.

Here are some of the essential soft skills that will help your employees do their best.

Empowering your employees

Empowering employees means helping them develop new skills in order to be more productive in the workplace. However, it’s not as simple as just assigning them an online course and expecting good results. Empowering employees typically involves the following:

  • Interacting with your employees and understanding their needs and wants.
  • Offering constructive feedback on their work to help them understand where improvements can be made.
  • Allowing staff to improve their skills by letting them choose online courses that they feel could give them an advantage.
  • Making yourself available for questions should they need assistance.
  • Giving them the flexibility to adjust their workflow and established processes if it helps improve their productivity and efficiency.
  • Providing your support and additional resources to help them overcome challenging projects.

At the end of the day, empowering your employees is all about giving them more options and resources to achieve their goals. Even if those goals are personal and not immediately beneficial to your business, encouraging professional growth is a key aspect of great people management and ultimately leads to happier employees.

Conflict resolution

Employees will undoubtedly find themselves in arguments and debates with other team members, managers, and potentially even clients. Conflict resolution skills are a great way to address interpersonal challenges and help to establish a more comfortable work environment. When someone in a leadership position is able to mediate conflicts and solve them efficiently, it allows your business to resume operations as soon as possible which is a huge benefit to the business. However, perhaps more importantly, it clears up any misconceptions between team members and helps everyone reach an understanding.

Mediating conflicts can also ensure that the root cause of the disruption is discovered. This will help you overcome the same problem in the future should it ever happen again, but it can also encourage your team to avoid the issue in the first place. In many cases, it can actually teach your staff members how to solve the same conflict or a similar situation in the future without the need for you to mediate it, resulting in a much more efficient and productive team.

Knowing when to be flexible

Flexibility is important because it encourages employees to work in the way that they prefer. This can often lead to a much more productive and effective business because your employees are more comfortable with their work environment. It also shows that you trust your employees to make the best decisions for your business. If you’re able to place your trust in your team members and give them the option to be flexible, it can garner a lot more respect for you as a leader and will establish a flexible company culture that encourages staff to improve on the foundation that you’ve set.

One example of flexibility is offering your staff the option to work how they see fit. For instance, if you encourage your team to solve a task in a specific way but one member of the team has a suggestion, then it’s worth listening to them and allowing them to explain their ideas. If they believe it’s a more efficient option, then it’s good to offer them the flexibility to try new things. Even if the idea fails, it may produce valuable insights and data that can help optimise processes in the future.

Effective communication

Communication is the foundation of good people management skills. It enables a lot of positive benefits such as great teamwork, effective problem-solving skills, and also transparency that creates a sense of trust and community within the workplace. Communication can also help your staff feel like their opinions matter. By giving your team a louder voice, it encourages them to communicate their ideas and concerns with senior members of staff.

Effective communication is all about using simple language to get your message across. Avoid any complicated jargon and make sure there are simple and effective ways for team members to communicate with each other. For instance, you may want to implement a new messaging system if your team finds it difficult to contact you. You also need to establish a company culture that makes it acceptable for team members to directly contact senior members of staff instead of creating barriers that prevent the flow of communication.

The Challenges of People Management

Nurturing great people management skills isn’t easy and there are likely going to be challenges to face in the future. Thankfully, it’s possible to overcome these challenges if you’re able to identify them before they become a hindrance.

  • Make sure you have enough staff members to delegate responsibilities evenly without overburdening your existing team members.
  • Understand when your employees are feeling demotivated and try to understand what could be causing it. Attempt to accommodate your staff in order to improve their performance levels and help them overcome difficulties.
  • Always encourage effective communication and make it easy for staff to get in touch with a manager to have their voice heard.
  • Revise collaborative strategies to encourage effective teamwork. Simply throwing staff members into the same room doesn’t make for a good team. You should try to use team-building exercises to boost their confidence as a team.
  • Support first-time managers so they don’t feel pressured to handle all of the responsibilities of their role. It can be stressful to fit into a leadership position, especially if you’re taking over from someone that has established a great relationship with the team already.
  • Difficult employees can also hinder your efforts to create a unified team. If some employees continue to cause tension and be at the centre of conflict, then you may need to invest extra time and effort into listening to them and understanding what their issues are.

There are many other challenges of people management, but these are some of the biggest ones to look out for. All of these challenges can be overcome by empowering your staff and encouraging effective communication. Through active listening and conflict resolution, you can establish a company culture that promotes teamwork and motivates your staff to go the extra mile.

How Can Performance Management Help People Manage Their Work?

Performance management is the process of using different strategies to monitor and manage employees. It typically involves the use of a performance management system but can also be conducted through regular employee performance reviews. The aim of a performance management system is to help an organisation achieve their goals and ambitions while aligning them with individual employee goals. When done correctly, this can greatly improve employee motivation and boost team morale.

Another benefit of performance management is to encourage employees to work harder and achieve their career goals. By recognising the efforts that our team goes through, it allows you to see which employees are thriving in your workplace and who might need some extra assistance. This ultimately leads to a more productive business and leads to the development of employee-centric growth strategies that will empower your business with well-trained, motivated, and loyal team members.

Conclusion

The importance of great people management skills can’t be understated. Since staff are at the core of any business, it makes sense that one of the biggest factors that define your success is how you manage your team. Great people management requires you to be proactive; you need to understand the needs of your team and you need to empathise with individual staff when they’re having trouble.

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