People management is a natural need for any organization that employs people, simply put. Some companies may take a routine or hands-off approach to managing their people, while others make it a priority, often fusing their people management strategy into the company culture.
One of the main elements of people management is ensuring that employees have the right skills for either their current role or future role, as is the case for internal mobility and succession strategies. And when it comes to people management, soft skills – especially all aspects of communication and problem-solving – are most important.
What Is People Management?
The function of people management is overseeing an organization’s development and motivation in order to enhance productivity and boost company performance. The basic goal of people management is to enable the organization to run smoothly and move forward as both a single entity as well as promote individual growth, usually through L&D. The organizations with the most successful people management strategies have realized that when their employees are satisfied, the company is much more likely to thrive. Those organizations are then more focused on individual professional development and encouraging employees to engage with each other and learn how to solve problems together effectively.
People management is a subset of HR management that involves hiring and onboarding, finding ways to empower and engage employees, communicating effectively across the organization, and keeping employees on the same page as they work towards the organization’s main mission(s).
Beyond HR teams, leadership and middle management are also involved in people management. Managers know their team members the best, and can help guide HR on initiatives, training sessions, and L&D programs that would improve either the team as a whole or individual contributor. They also need to manage people themselves, by solving interpersonal conflicts, managing employees’ tasks and time, and providing feedback to improve employee performance. Leadership is involved in signing off on any L&D initiatives and being role models for the rest of the company.
Why Is People Management Important?
No matter how much we automate processes through AI and robots, people still run the organizations using the tech. While say, a software company may rely heavily on technology, leveraging and/or selling that technology still means:
- Hiring staff with technical skills
- Training them in the usage of the software
- If they’re selling the software, ensuring salespeople have the right verbal and written communication skills and can professionally represent your company
- Managing employees in their daily tasks
- Providing them with feedback and advice on how to improve and prepare them for more advanced roles with professional and talent development programs
Behind each of these activities is somebody acting in a people management role.
Companies that prioritize people management reap a number of rewards. Like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the more the organization invests in the activities behind people management, the greater the potential return of investment. For instance, if a company merely ensures good pay for its staff, employees won’t exactly be loyal – employees prefer career and growth opportunities more than decent pay or company perks. But if it provides a “7 Star Experience,” it can achieve a high level of competitiveness.
Here are a few examples of people management initiatives and their benefits:
As we have seen with events like the Great Resignation, employee dissatisfaction can result in a loss of talent that is damaging to the business. By managing people and creating an environment that allows employees to thrive through clarity and transparency, adequate resources, and the feeling that their employers are investing in their career progression, organizations can increase performance in important areas like employee retention.
Serving employees with learning and development programs that impart up-to-date skills can provide both technical proficiency and soft skills that are increasingly essential. Companies that provide L&D opportunities give workers both the capability of doing a job properly and a sense of engagement that makes them active partners in improving their own efficiency.
Some organizations make people management a focus. One notable example is Airbnb, which designs many of its corporate offices to resemble actual rental properties. The goal is to provide an employee experience that motivates workers to go above and beyond expectations.
Skills Related to People Management
The most important skills behind effective people management are:
This is a vital skill for almost any job; in this case, it includes elements such as task allocation, advising, and giving and receiving feedback – all with tact and professionalism.
When people managers act as middlemen between their employees and the executives who set the conditions of employment, the skills of a negotiator often come into play. Whenever there is a conflict between employees, an effective manager will refrain from taking sides and instead act to resolve the conflict to everyone’s satisfaction.
Managers have almost a responsibility to build relationships with their teams in order to truly manage them effectively. Understanding how different employees work in their unique ways and allowing for that – provided they do what needs to be done – and having the empathy to support and motivate are crucial to the teams’ resilience and success.
Managing people in any work environment means dealing with change at some point. People management requires leaders and managers to clearly communicate organizational changes and understand how to best go about making that change on your team or wider organization.
Instill Your People with People Management Skills
Managers everywhere find themselves engaging in people management, at some point. But not all of them have the skills to do the best possible job.
GrowthSpace answers the need of companies searching for enhanced people management initiatives. GrowthSpace’s scalable L&D platform matches top experts with employees at all levels, in terms of both hierarchy and abilities, to boost performance.