Raymond Appiah...people are an important factor

Raymond Appiah-Baiden: Human Resources, Network/IT Administrator, Office management and Finance Assistant at Barakabora Consulting in South Africa, gives a few pointers on the subject

COMPANIES the world over depend on the efficient and effective management of human capital to maximize their competitive advantage. However, given the complexity of individuals (i.e. their traits, character, beliefs, religion, goals, desires, etc.) highly skilled Human Resources Managers have become a necessity and an integral part of the management platform.

Here are a few tips I’ve learnt in my journey as a Human Resources Manager:
Engage for motivation

Understanding your employees makes your management style a lot more effective and helps employees become more engaged with you and your organization. The better you know your employees, the better you can develop and implement management styles and interventions that foster productive engagement between yourself as a manager and those you manage.

Proactively invest resources (money, time, technology, etc.) in learning what drives and motivates your team professionally and personally. A one-size-fits-all management approach damages yourself, your employees and your organization.

Ascertain what your team’s individual, personal and professional goals are, what tasks excite them and what bores them. Together with your team, develop career advancement plans that will consequentially motivate employees. Needs, aspiration, desires and goals change, so be flexible and periodically revisit development strategies.

In proactively engaging with your team, encourage employees to be themselves. Show that you care about them first before underlining what is required of them in terms of work delivery. Most employees will not be interested in how much you know as a manager, until they know you care.

Establish for understanding

People who do not know what they are supposed to do cannot do it very well. Employees need to know the reporting and working boundaries they should comply with, so as not to step on each other’s toes or create inefficiency through redundancy.

This is normally due to vague contracts and lack of job descriptions. Very small companies have more than their fair share of this problem due to the fact that they sometimes employ people on a non-contractual basis.

This causes uncertainty in performance expectations leading to frustrations particularly in performance management systems and during performance appraisals.

Establishing your team in well-defined contracts and job descriptions is as essential as setting key performance expectations (KPIs) linked to an attractive compensation and rewards structure. This eliminates uncertainty and improves motivation and productivity.

Management shouldn’t unilaterally stray away from set agreements as this causes confusion in performance expectations and leads to disgruntled employees.

Consistency in managing expectations based on signed agreements and systems set with employees enhances trust and security between you and your team.

Equip for productivity

Setting high expectations and objectives with your team while failing to provide sufficient equipment and resources to facilitate delivery of these objectives is likely to impact on the level of productivity. Needless to say, an unengaged, frustrated and unmotivated team is likely to end up costing the company hours in lost productivity.

Invest in training and development of your employees to enable them to realize their full potential in their respective roles.

Well executed training and development programs add value to the organization:

By addressing weaknesses and building on strengths of employees.
By creating uniformity in performance execution and ensuring quality control.
By reducing costs, as fully-trained and knowledgeable staff work more efficiently, improve business processes and use resources optimally.
By encouraging independence and confidence in employees and reducing management dependency.

Empower for innovation

As an organization you need to be frequently innovating your team, products and/or service offerings in order to stay competitive against rival companies. Having employees who are engaged, established and properly equipped, adds much value to the organization.

Empowering your employees take responsibility and think independently encourages them to take initiative in executing their tasks with little or no guidance.

Here are a few ways you can create an empowering working environment as a manager:

1.Engage, establish and equip employees with a clear strategic vision, mission and objectives.
2.Foster open communication and transparency.
3.Avoid micromanagement.
4.Encourage and reward self-improvement and achievements.
5.Encourage a safe environment for failure.
6.Brief new tasks effectively.
7.Appreciate employee efforts.
8.Encourage and support employee independence.
9.Enforce accountability.

People, People, People!

Everything starts and ends with people. Even in this day and age when incredible advances in technological operations has enabled virtually all businesses to afford computers or other such equipment, the human element is still a major factor.

While organizational systems, such as policies, procedures, IT infrastructure and strategy are important, the human capital which makes these systems come alive is invaluable and therefore an important cog in any company’s structure.