People

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This section is an attempt to demonstrate how important People are to your organisation and some of the ways in which you can improve your interaction with your people. We hope that it has inspired you to re-examine your organisation, your teams and of course yourself, in a spirit of openness and honestly.

The first part is an introduction to People criterion, where  the importance of the People is explained.  This section will also help you identify, manage and improve your people capabilities and will talk about the importance of involving them and communicate with them. Finally, how to reward, recognise and take care of your People.  At the bottom of the page, you will find a link to the “Assessment sheet” to help you assessing how you manage your People. You will also discover what your strengths are and what you have to improve in this area.

Why People?

People have always been essential to organisation, because they provide inspiration, creativity, vision and motivation that keeps an organisation alive. They provide the skills and competencies necessary to make an organisation work. And of course they provide the labour that produces the goods and services that an organisation supplies. They are a major and often the most important resource that an organisation has. The post-Industrial Revolution model is obsolete, the economy is changing to a new ways of working, where one of the major determinants of an organisation’s success is the intelligent use of knowledge.

Who are your people?

You could say that your people are your full-time paid employees. This is of course true and for some organisations this would be the whole story. However, there are many other ways in which people contribute to your organisation: 

  • Have part-time or piece-work contracts, short-term contracts 
  • Temporary labour to fill in for peaks in demand or sickness 
  • Sub-contractors 
  • Support staff: security guards, kitchen staff or cleaners

In some circumstances you may choose to work very closely with your supplier or partner. Consider whether it is useful to integrate some aspects of your people management, for example, training.

What do People mean to your organisation?

All Excellent organisations recognise and value the vital contribution that people make to their success. But this implies that, in order to be successful, you have to ensure that you have the people that you need. Even in these days of advanced technology,  your organisation does not exist without people . It’s as easy and as hard as that! You also need to engage the energies and enthusiasm of your people in the most effective way.

How do you manage, develop and involve People in your organisation?

Plan, manage and improve your People

You cannot determine what people you need unless you know what you wish to achieve! This may seem obvious, but many organisations struggle on with the status quo without really knowing what they are trying to do.

Ideally, you will already have started to work on your Business Plan, based on your Strategy, and have identified objectives, targets and priorities. If not, think carefully whether you know what is expected. It is possible that the requirements are the same as last year. But the world is constantly changing. There are pressures from the changing demands of customers, technology and legislation, not to mention financial constraints. It is highly likely that you need to adjust your people resource, either in numbers or by changing the focus of their activity.

Of course you need to involve your People in this planning process, although many managers are reluctant to, because they think that maybe the change upsets them. But your People have valuable knowledge that you need and you need to understand the effect that the changes will have on them.

Good Practice organisations integrate their review of People resource within the planning cycle.

To improve your People resource, you need to consider how your People are aligned to your Mission, Vision, strategic goals and processes. Regardless of your organisational structure, your People should be allocated according to the priority of the process and understand the processes to which they are contributing.

Another aspect of managing People which no organisation can afford to ignore is fairness. Equal opportunities regardless of race, sex, creed or colour are required by many national legislation. It is always in an organisation’s interest to ensure fairness and transparency when dealing with its people as this minimises suspicion, envy and the consequential loss of motivation.

Develop your People’s knowledge and competencies

Choose the right People

It is very important to match your People to the organisation and the specific job. The most common criteria used to select People for a job are qualifications, technical skills and experience. But these criteria are never the only considerations. In many cases, providing that People have the basic skills needed and the right attitude to learning, they can often be trained in the specifics of a job. If they don’t have the right approach and personal culture, it is much more difficult to teach them to be friendly to customers, co-operate with their team mates and accept change.

You also need to match the People you employ with the culture of your organisation and vice-versa or they will find it frustrating and hard to integrate. There are many standard tools and techniques that help to assess the suitability of individuals for a job, but before using them, make sure that you have the following requirements clearly in mind: the culture of your organisation, the competencies required by the job and the approach an attitude of the person that you need.

Appraise and review your people

In Excellent organisations, performance appraisal is a well-established and integral part of the management and development of their people. Some of the main objectives are: review past performance against targets, recognise success, identify skills and competencies, agree targets for future performance and identify training and personal development needs. There is often a formal review on an annual or 6-monthly basis. But this should not be seen as the only or main opportunity for identifying or discussing performance which should be ongoing throughout the year.

Train your people

People that are not competent become less inclined to help customers and colleagues in case their ignorance becomes known. They also lose their pride in doing a job well and have the impression that the company is not interested in them. So this sets up a vicious circle of ignorance and results in dissatisfied, de-motivated and potentially disruptive staff. Even people who can do their current job will feel neglected and under-valued if you do not take an interest in their personal and career development. So there are very good practical and financial reasons to undertake proper training.

Besides, training and development does not necessarily mean sending People on a course, there are more options: can be done in the workplace using colleagues as mentors, Self-learning using books and manuals, online trainings,...

Involve and Empower your People

Involving and empowering your people is taking a risk, but the rewards are a much more flexible and effective organisation, improved performance and happier and more committed people.

Encourage teams

One of the most effective ways of involving and empowering People is helping them to build teams, but not in the traditional way of functional groups. Functional teams have a tendency to focus on the function rather than the desired result, they can have a narrow view of a problem because they do not know what other departments do. A team can be defined as “a group of people acting with a common purpose and shared responsibility for the success or failure of their efforts”.

Empower your people

When empowerment is done properly, it can be a great liberator of energy. It can motivate and expand people’s horizons. It gives the organisation more flexibility and robustness against unexpected events. Empowerment is giving people the right environment and training in which to make their own reasoned decisions. It requires support and coaching and setting guidelines for their sphere of action. It views power as a collective responsibility rather than an individual’s prerogative.

Communicate with your people

Communication with your People is fundamental to achieving your organisation’s objectives. At the most basic level, if they don’t know what you want, how can they do it? But communication is much more than conveying instructions; it is the means of involving and motivating your People.

There are many ways for getting the message across, you will need to choose the most effective and appropriate technique baring in mind the size of your organisation, the number of locations that you have and the distances between them.

Reward, recognise and care for your People

Excellent organisations recognise that their relationship with their People should go beyond the specifics of the contract and the financial remuneration. They acknowledge the value that the person brings to the organisation through recognising, rewarding and caring for them.

It is part of human nature to like to be recognised and rewarded for doing something well. It makes people feel good about themselves and their organisation. It motivates People to try again the next time. It is also good manners to thank People for a job well done. It shows that you have noticed their efforts and appreciated them.

You have to ensure a safe and healthy working environment for your People, and encourage them, along with other stakeholders, to participate in activities that contribute to wider society.

Rewarding, recognising and caring for your people is good for them. But it is also good for the effective working on your organisation, so it is a “win-win” opportunity.

How do you review and improve your People management?

Reviewing techniques

Your people know how well you are doing at managing them. They know both from the evidence of what is happening within the organisation and also how they feel about it. They can give you feedback on how well they are doing and also how this is impacting the customers and the organisation.

There are several techniques that can help you to assess and measure the effectiveness of your approach. Here are some examples: 

  • Staff meetings 
  • Staff Appraisals 
  • Staff Surveys 
  • Self-Assessment

Whichever method you choose, it is important to review the effectiveness regularly. On a formal basis this should be at least annually. But don’t wait for a formal review. Make sure that you keep in touch with your people on a regular basis – monthly or even weekly – so that you can spot a problem before it has the chance to grow.

How to improve

Using one or more of the techniques above, you will have a list of those areas that need improvement. You will also have a measure of which are the most urgent to resolve. This is the time to involve your colleagues and agree an Improvement plan.

Click here to access the People Assessment Sheet.  This Assessment Sheet is in PDF format, you can fill it in as a form, save it or print it.

Want to learn from Excellent organisations? Don't miss the opportunity to get inspired by our members' good practices! You can also buy the People Perception Benchmark Report in in our Webshop

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