If you are wondering what employee management really means, you are not alone. After scouring the internet for hours, I found that there is a lot of confusion over what Employee management really means. The most common definition I found was - Employee management is looking after the day to day activities performed by the employees to help achieve organizational goals.
I was not satisfied by that definition because some of the results shown to me were tips for managers to be effective, others were about HR and still others were about systems. But it doesn’t really answer the question of how the work is done? What is it that your people spend most of their time doing during in the business hours? How do what your employees do translate to the goals of your organization?
My search led me to the answer that employee management is really about being able to answer these questions because at the heart of employee management is the ability to know at a high level as to how work is being done, who is responsible for a project and how that translates into achievement of your organizational goals at any given time.
To give an example from my work here at StarGarden, when I was originally hired, my manager gave me a set of projects she had in mind for me to do. After an initial introduction to the people, processes and systems at the organization, I started trying to get some of the projects done. My time would be spent thinking of dependencies, learning and keeping myself on track to deliver these projects within the deadlines. I’m sure there is a version of this that you do at your organization.
The most common view of this relationship is that the manager is responsible for employee’s work. This includes communicating task allocation, clarifications, providing feedback, guidance, motivation and approvals
This is coming more into focus in recent times as employer brands and culture is getting more traction. It also includes the policies and procedures that allow organizations to function smoothly. HR plays a crucial role in the kind of relationship an employee has with the organization. Not only does HR own the responsibility of administering benefits, intervening for disciplinary actions and paying on time but they are architects of culture and strategic partners for long term talent planning to make people a competitive advantage.
An employee interacts more with the systems in an organization than any other aspect. One reason why the relationship between employee and systems is crucial to employee management is access control from reasons of security to data management practices. Additionally, with so many systems in use at organizations, understanding productivity and work relies on using systems to the best of their capabilities.
The manager, organization and systems are the three components of employee management that help align the people with the goals. I recall the Wells Fargo scandal where bank agents were creating fake accounts for customers to reach sales targets. It is a highly publicised example of mismanagement where in all three aspects of employee management are at fault. First, the organizational culture to put such a pressure on employees. Second, lack of transparency to see exactly how goals were met and third, lack of access controls that have checks in place to avoid unauthorized work. It takes a careful balance of the three aspects of employee management to run a successful organization.
Employee management, as some of the clichés state, is both an art and a science and at StarGarden we are working towards demystifying it. This is our first article in our Employee Management Series. Next week, learn about the ‘Top 4 Challenges to Employee Management that HR Should Immediately Act On’.
If you are ready to learn more about effective employee management and what keeps managers awake at night, challenges they face and how to solve them, download our Employee Management white paper!
About the Author:
Salma Sultana has over seven years experience working in various roles in Research, System Analysis and Project Management. She holds a MBA from Simon Fraser University, Vancouver and joined StarGarden in 2015.
Follow her on twitter: @salmasultana