An Summary of “Investing in People“
Investing in People (2011) shines a light on human resources, an essential part of a successful company that is often undervalued and underappreciated. A smart personnel strategy can improve how well a company does its job and make employees happier. The book shows you four easy steps to improve your human resources strategies. Download Ebook
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About the Author
Wayne F. Cascio is a well-known professor at the University of Colorado. At the University of Colorado Denver, he holds the Robert H. Reynolds Chair in Global Leadership.
Investing in People’s Key Ideas
Investing in People tip 1: With good HR, your company will shine. Having bad HR will hurt your company. You should never ignore HR!
Human resources are critical to a company’s success, but most people don’t realise how important they are. Any manager knows how important it is to find and retain good employees. But if someone asked you, could you explain what’s good and what’s bad about the way you manage your employees? Many managers can’t do HR well and keep making mistakes. Human resources are essential to your business’ growth and success. So why do we often judge HR not on how well they work but on how well the system works?
It might be easy to see the link between good marketing and sales, but it might be harder to see the connection between HR and financial success. Because of this, most business leaders don’t care much about human resources issues and only look at cost-effective strategies. However, it’s effortless to see why good HR is essential. Companies need employees who are both good at their jobs and dedicated to the company.
The Hay Group’s “World’s Most Admired Companies” list shows that companies that treat their employees like valuable assets tend to do better. It’s essential to make the link between human resources decisions and a company’s financial performance clear and easy to see. Nevertheless, what is the best way to do that? The LAMP framework, which stands for logic, analytics, measure, and process, is a powerful choice. LAMP is about figuring out how a problem works, finding the right way to measure it, analysing data, and making a plan to fix the issues you’ve found.
Investing in People tip 2: Set up a logical framework to figure out the real HR problem behind the numbers.
How does a company figure out how successful it is? Data is what most companies will look at. But if all you do is crunch numbers, you won’t be able to see the bigger picture. To start making better choices, you need to look at the numbers.
Setting up a clear, logical framework, the “L” in LAMP. Start by figuring out what caused specific problems at your company and what could be the cause. Consider “absenteeism”. If you look at the numbers, you can see that employees get sick. In fact, studies have shown that only 32% of absences in the US can be attributed to personal illness.
Family problems, stress, emotional problems, or even a sense of entitlement can cause a high absentee rate. Specifically, you won’t know why these things are essential if you don’t set up a logical framework to help you understand the problem and all its causes and effects.
For example, a logical framework for absenteeism could look like this: employees aren’t at work to do their jobs, so other employees have to fill in. This either lowers overall productivity, or that work doesn’t get done. This issue results in less work, and the overall price for the same work becomes higher. So if you can get to the underlying issues and solve these, people will come to work more often, cutting costs.
Doesn’t it make sense to find out why people aren’t coming to work? Using the LAMP framework, you can be sure that your human resources strategy shines a light on the right problem. Now that you can see the benefits, it’s time to start measuring.
Investing in People tip 3: A good data analysis is the only way to get valuable insights and find solutions.
If you’ve ever written a college thesis paper, you know how hard it is to sort through a lot of information. Moreover, you can’t start the real work of analysing and writing until you have all the information you need. Data without analysis, the “A” in LAMP, doesn’t make a good thesis or HR plan.
Be careful not to jump to conclusions too quickly. A quick look at the data could lead you to a wrong decision. Such mistakes can be expensive. Given that you’ve been given information that claimed “happy, friendly employees tend to make more money”, you might try to find the exact link in other stores by starting a program to help employees have better attitudes. The program will cost a budget. However, it would help boost sales. Is it worth a try? Not quite.
A good analysis might have shown that some stores have high employee morale that drives the people who shop there to spend more money. If this were true, your expensive training program wouldn’t help sales; it would just be costly. Therefore, you should consider what you aim for before doing it. Don’t be fooled!
Detailed analysis is often a complicated process that only experts can do. Still, all HR leaders need to learn how to analyse data. HR managers must read current relevant publications current to stay on best practices. Furthermore, your HR directors should also make sure that any specialists you hire know every necessary thing about your company. For example: why are things set up the way they are? why do some employees work the way they do? and maybe even why haven’t changes been made before?
Investing in People tip 4: Using the proper measurement techniques helps you understand the bigger picture of your HR problems.
Human resources metrics cover many things, from being on time to how often people leave their jobs. Nevertheless, as a manager, you won’t learn anything if you don’t understand the bigger picture of your problem. For example, reducing the number of resignations seems like a reasonable goal at first glance.
Overall, your workers will have more experience, and it will take time and money to find and train new ones. If you only look at turnover rates, you won’t learn much. What if you want to lower the turnover rate? The most straightforward action seems to reduce the qualification bar while hiring and set up an education system to meet these standards afterwards. Since more people will be applying for jobs, those who get hired will be more eager to keep their jobs. Is this a smart move? Of course not!
You can’t make a better plan based solely on a straightforward piece of information.
Measure (the “M” in LAMP) carefully if you want to understand the real problem. To deal with turnover better, you must figure out the rates by department and position. If you measure in a specific way, you’ll soon discover the underlying issues. A high turnover rate only hurts the company when it happens at the top. High turnover might be a good thing at the bottom of your company’s hierarchy since new employees have a lower cost and can take fewer vacations.
If you knew this, you could improve the conditions for better operating outcomes and put less effort into the others, right? However, will this make people happy at work? That’s a separate question. If you know how to use logical frameworks and tools for analysis and measuring, you’re on your way to solving your HR problems.
Now it’s time to look at what must be done to fix these problems!
Investing in People tip 5: To use your ideas, it’s important to get managers who aren’t in HR on board.
After all that complex work researching HR problems, you must ensure the company benefits from your new ideas. In other words, company managers must be on board for your new HR processes. If you want your thoughts to affect decisions and how people act, you or your HR managers must remember that each company branch has its own goals and priorities.
Sales numbers are the most important thing for a sales team. On the other hand, the production department cares more about being efficient and cutting down on waste. Because of this, team managers use different knowledge frameworks to process and understand information based on how important it is for them to do their jobs.
If you tell a salesperson about a new program to increase sales, he will be glued to his seat. However, if you stress how important the program is for the customers, you might not drive as much attention from your sales team. You must speak their language if you want the managers to get involved. Use what your team knows already.
Many managers spend a lot of time thinking about how to make money and keep costs low. Why not start your HR pitch with an analysis of how much it costs to do things wrong? You’ll get their attention that way. Once they’re interested, you can show them some of your more complicated analytical tools that they may not be used to.
As a result, you could also start by giving your audience an overview of a simple turnover-cost analysis. This will help managers who aren’t in HR understand how the decisions made in HR affect the company’s bottom line. Once you’ve made this breakthrough, you can go into more detail to explain the logical, measured analysis you’ve done. This will help each team understand why the new strategy is a win.
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Investing in People tip 6: Investing in the health of your employees will stop them from missing work and costing you extra money.
It’s every worker’s worst fear. You will cover their work when coworkers get sick. It’s about time that companies paid more attention to workers’ health. About 76% of health care costs come from a small number of diseases strongly linked to how people live their lives. These diseases are heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Many conditions can be avoided if people act healthy, like exercising regularly to prevent heart disease and eating well to avoid diabetes and obesity. Therefore, the company decided to pay for employees’ medical bills.
By doing this, Pitney Bowes saw a significant drop in health-related emergencies and absences and a rise in work output. Pitney Bowes isn’t the only company like this. In 2009, a Towers-Watson study found that successful companies put much more money into their employees’ health than less successful companies. They are taking care of the company’s health benefits more than just cutting costs. Employees who feel cared for tend to be more loyal to their employer. This way, ensuring employees are healthy will strengthen a company.
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