People management – great or grim?

In early April I posted a blog HR Manager’s Effectiveness: 21 variables to aspire to.

It took 2077 hits.  What follows is a further development of the theme – the effectiveness of the HR function. It is derived from my experience in HR of nearly 4 decades in multiple employment settings. It’s from my forthcoming book on people management and people averse workplaces.

Focus on the HR unit of which you are a part, use the scoring regime to calibrate its impact and effectiveness. If you fancy yourself as a HR professional and your aggregate score is less than 75, either do something or leave!


0          No, we don’t satisfy this

1          We only satisfy this to a minor degree

2          Whilst we have a way to go we are making progress on this

3          Yes, we fully satisfy this

1          We have comprehensive and contemporary  HR policies and a code of conduct regarding behavior that are well understood by all staff at all levels

2          We give new starters at all levels comprehensive induction, orientation and training and carefully monitor their early performance

3          We ensure that an annual learning plan is in place for all staff

4          We have effective staff/management dialogue

5          Our communication policies and practices give emphasis to face to face engagement

6          We are a family friendly place

7          We prefer employment security rather than relying upon casuals, temps, day laborers, out-sources or labor-hire firms

8          We select people based on merit alone and we secure a sustainable and competitive advantage in the acquisition and development of people

9          People who manage others are chosen principally on this ability

10        Managers are given people management and leadership training throughout their management tenure

11        We recognize and acknowledge our workforce as critical to our success

12        Our Human Resource Management unit has a place at the corporate decision making table

13        We reward and recognize achievement in a genuine way and we say ‘thank-you’ often

14        We are pretty much free of industrial conflict and disputation

15        Management has a positive view of staff joining a union

16        Staff can access assistance when under stress or when internal or external forces negatively impact their work

17        Our CEO is visible and makes it a practice of visiting staff at their workplace and listening to them

18        Mentoring and coaching are alive and well

19        Performance management regimes are helpful not hurtful and performance targets are reasonable and achievable with effort

20        Due process, natural justice, procedural fairness are well known terms in this place

21        Rumor and gossip is not a feature of this workplace

22        Customer, client, consumer are of critical importance to everyone

23        Our values are about respect, dignity, courtesy, recognition, security, safety, participation, fairness and equity

24        Our HR Manager has direct and ready access to the CEO

25        Social activity in the workplace is supported

26        Staff pay and separation policies give compensation beyond the industry norm

27        We have comprehensive workplace health and safety policies

28        Our workforce is broadly reflective of our customers, clients, consumers

29        We prefer to coach rather than counsel

30        Our HR Manager has the courage and authority to intervene to address and redress people averse behavior by anyone at any level

31        Staff can easily access grievance and complaints management processes

32        OH&S policies and practices are driven by professionally qualified staff and we have an active OH&S forum

33        We have HR information systems that tell us what we need to know

34        We celebrate success and we venerate our corporate heroes

35         We know why staff leave and we readily recruit to vacancies

36        Our job descriptions provide full information on the job, its purpose, location, reporting and key selection requirements

37        HR champions a positive, inclusive and caring culture

38        All employees are well informed of our strategic directions

39        Performance measures are simple, relevant, timely

40        We compare our performance on people management with relevant others

41        Change management initiatives factor in staff and the views they hol

42        People who do jobs that are inherently stressful get special support

43        Our HR operatives have professional and technical skill and know where to find additional help when it is needed

44        We have policies that guide the introduction of organizational and technological change

45        Our employees are encouraged to ask questions and full and frank answers are given

46        Continuous learning is a feature of staff development

47        Our HR unit is well regarded and influential

48        Unions have a positive view of people management

49        Our HR unit delivers on best practice people management policies and practices and it is robust, flexible, adaptable and resilient

50        Our strategic or corporate plan factors in the staff cohort in terms of its value, criticality and ongoing development






0 - 24

Virtually nonexistent or substantially under-developed HR function. Any pretence of the existence of a HR function is a mirage (Zero HR effectiveness)


HR practices require significant investment and attention. There is a general absence of quality HR policies and no sophistication in people management. HR functionaries have no or little impact (Inadequate HR effectiveness)

50 - 74 

HR function has some impact but there remain many significant gaps and challenges. The function is likely both weak and intimidated (Marginal HR effectiveness)

75 - 99

A moderately effective HR function with many comprehensive policies yet many challenges remain. Further improvement desirable (Competent HR effectiveness)

100 - 124

A well developed and developing HR function with many positive impacts and a raft of contemporary policies in place. HR has a very good reputation (Superior HR effectiveness)


125 + 

A model of a best practice HR function characterized by high performance, significant impact and value adding (Outstanding HR effectiveness)


Views: 869

Comment by Janne on August 3, 2012 at 22:49

I work in the tertiary education sector and I scored 89.... the code of conduct is pitiable...... the policies are poorly written policies and add no value... managers have a lack of people management skills and accountability...... managers hide behind their subordinates...... the HR unit is not at the decision making table...... the performance management process is riddled with problems......when an under-performer improves by way of counselling it is often seen as a failure (because we can't get rid of them).......

We have a long way to go... however the organisational culture can be changed in time and by natural attrition and continuing to employee candidates who demonstrate accountability, leadership, resilience, integrity and respect.


Thank you for posting - your tool is very effective! 

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of HR Daily Community to add comments!

Join HR Daily Community

© 2022   Created by Jo Knox.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service