The crucial connection between personnel management and business performance
We often hear that people are an organisation’s most important asset. Although true, if an organisation does nothing to back up this idea, it ends up sounding hollow, an empty claim lacking any real substance.
Obviously, the performance of its employees can hold a company back – or help it move forward. So they need to be mentored, trained and supported to enable them to maximise their own potential. Someone who never gets a chance to show their talents will eventually lose motivation without ever reaching their maximum capacity at a professional level, and this will have a negative impact on the individual and the company. To feel proud of their work, to feel appreciated and recognised, a professional needs opportunities to learn, to have new experiences and to express their full potential.
Done systematically, in a way that is in tune with the dynamics of the business, personnel management can help balance the needs of the company with those of its employees. To make this happen, we need to ask two basic questions: which skills and competencies are needed for a company to maintain its core stability and move forwards towards fulfilling its dreams? And what do we need to improve in order to attract skilled individuals and allow those who are already within the company to develop? By answering these two questions, the company can hone its staff development decision-making processes and strategies, while at the same time avoiding the worst outcome of all: failing to be attractive to qualified, capable and ambitious people.
Business management and personnel management need to be connected and to be conducted strategically. And this starts with the process of recruiting and selecting the right people. If finding the right people is so crucial to the success of an organisation, leaders need to take an active role in selecting who will join the company, in a process that in many companies is left almost exclusively to the HR department. What’s more, if the company is making a big investment by hiring the best professionals, it needs to take care of them afterwards. It needs to challenge and support them, as well as paying attention to company culture, so that every member of staff can feel proud of working for what they see as “their company”.
Over the years, I have learned that personnel management is not just a matter of common sense: you need to have targets, benchmarks and in-depth review data before you think about action. The use of statistical tools to correlate performance indicators with company metrics can help you get an idea of the profile best suited to the nature of the company, and to identify the skills and capabilities you need. This kind of analysis can sometimes yield surprising results, and in certain situations, can confirm what happens in most organisations. A great example are those who are appointed as “leaders”: the best leaders are not always the people with the most technical or business knowledge, but the ones who really feel and are fired up by the company’s dreams, and can pass this feeling on to their team so that every team member understands and shares the meaning of what they’re doing. These leaders stand out because of their ability to inspire others, to promote commitment and make their team feel proud to say where they work.
Companies are made up of people: without them, there would be no companies to develop or manage. The world, markets and business are driven by people, by dreams and passions. A half-hearted, apathetic attitude is not the road to success: it can only be found alongside people who are following their dreams.