What is people management?

People management refers to the practice of recruiting, training, engaging and retaining employees to optimize their talent and maximize their productivity. A subcategory of Human Resource Management (HRM), people management includes:

  • Training and development
  • Recruitment
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Performance management
  • Organization
  • Engagement and retention
  • Safety and wellness

People management strategies address employees’ needs, unique talents, and career objectives, while also supporting their alignment with company goals and values.

Why should HR leaders care about people management?

HR leaders and managers must have people management skills to effectively communicate, inspire, and direct employees. People management that nurtures employees fuels their motivation to work productively and passionately, leading to increased engagement and retention.

What can HR leaders do to encourage effective people management?

Effective people management demands that HR leaders embody a balance of essential work habits and personality traits. Here are five core practices HR leaders can incorporate to promote successful people management:

  • Lead by example. By demonstrating a high level of emotional intelligence, HR leaders can set the tone for a productive and dynamic work environment. Exemplifying essential characteristics such as empathy and resilience in the workplace shows employees how they should aim to behave in the workplace. 
  • Gauge employees’ personalities. Knowing and understanding each employee’s unique personality and motivations enable managers to connect with employees on a personal level, as well as strategically maximize employees’ work potential. HR coach Katherine Giacalone emphasizes the importance of identifying and mentally categorizing each employee’s dominant personality for effective management purposes.
  • Communicate respectfully. Clear and considerate communication is the foundation of any type of successful relationship. Encouraging employees and managers to practice active listening builds trust and healthy interpersonal connections, which promote a positive culture and foster productivity. Furthermore, managers who practice active listening can acquire valuable, constructive, employee feedback to improve the employee experience.
  • Conflict resolution. Approaching conflict with respect for the individuals involved allows managers to resolve challenging situations with integrity. Instead of passively letting a conflict spiral out of control, managers can empathetically confront employees, which ultimately can strengthen interpersonal employee relationships and elevate the work community. 
  • Offer development opportunities for managers. HR leaders can help managers develop their skills by providing development training or sponsoring them to learn from other educational platforms. HR leaders can also offer mentorship programs in which they provide a framework for managers to learn one-on-one with internal or external management coaches.  

How can effective people management improve company culture?

Investing in employees through intentional people management practices empowers them to give back to their company with high-performance work. Strategic and careful people management can encourage progress, positive employee experiences, and growth, thereby enabling a thriving company culture.