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What is People Management? Definition, Tips, Free Resources

5 min read
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As businesses navigate an era of rapid change, understanding how to engage, develop, and retain talent becomes paramount; in other words, people management. The role of HR teams is, therefore, shifting from operational to intuitive and people-centric.

In this article, we explore why effective people management is key to organisational success and how it can be streamlined and strengthened.


What is People Management?

People management, or Human resource management is the systematic approach to overseeing and optimising the people within an organisation to achieve strategic goals and enhance overall productivity. It includes recruitment, training, performance evaluation, employee relations and more.

Effective people management involves creating a supportive and inclusive workplace culture that motivates individuals to contribute their best efforts. HR professionals not only address day-to-day operational needs but also focus on long-term talent development and succession planning.

Key Components of a People Management Strategy

There are four fundamental elements that must all be considered when building an HR management strategy. They are:

  1. Recruitment and Onboarding: This involves attracting, selecting, and hiring suitable candidates for positions within the organisation. Effective recruitment ensures a workforce with the right skills and cultural fit. Onboarding is crucial to integrate new hires smoothly into the organisational culture and processes.
  2. Performance Management: This component focuses on setting expectations, providing feedback, and evaluating individual and team performance. It includes goal-setting, regular performance reviews, and recognition of achievements. Performance management is vital for employee development and organisational success.
  3. Employee Development: Investing in the growth and skill enhancement of employees is essential. This includes training programmes, career development opportunities, and initiatives to foster continuous learning.
  4. Employee Engagement and Well-being: Maintaining a positive workplace culture and ensuring the well-being of employees is crucial for retention and productivity. Strategies for employee engagement involve effective communication, recognition, and creating a work environment that values diversity, inclusivity, and work-life balance.

With an all-in-one HR solution, you can optimise and streamline each of these pillars for a more cohesive strategy and greater business impact.

The Importance of Efficient People Management

Sourcing well-suited talent and managing your team members effectively can have major benefits for your business, including:

  1. Increased Productivity: Well-managed teams are more likely to be engaged and motivated, leading to higher levels of productivity. When employees feel supported, valued, and understand their roles within the organisation, they are more likely to contribute their best efforts.
  2. Enhanced Employee Satisfaction and Retention: People management practices that prioritise employee wellbeing, recognition, and professional development contribute to higher job satisfaction. Satisfied employees are more likely to stay with an organisation, reducing turnover costs, which are not insignificant. In fact, Oxford Economics found the average cost of turnover per employee (earning £25,000 a year or more) to be £30,614.
  3. Improved Organisational Performance: Skilled management practices contribute to adaptability in the face of change, innovation, and the development of a cohesive and high-performing team, ultimately driving the success and competitiveness of the organisation.

Business performance being discussed.

Top 10 People Management Skills

Building a team of HR professionals with strong people management skills is key to the success of your strategy. This will be a mixture of interpersonal, soft skills and more technical essential skills. The top 10 include:

  1. Leadership skills: The ability to inspire, guide, and motivate a team toward achieving common goals.
  2. Open communication: Clear and effective communication, including active listening, feedback delivery, and the ability to facilitate conversations with each team member.
  3. Emotional Intelligence: Understanding and managing one’s own emotions and those of others, fostering empathy and positive relationships.
  4. Conflict Resolution: Skill in addressing and resolving conflicts within the team, promoting a harmonious work environment.
  5. Coaching and Development: Supporting the professional growth of team members through mentorship, training, personalised development plans and constructive feedback.
  6. Adaptability: The capacity to adapt to change and guide others through periods of transition or uncertainty. This is part of what makes a great manager!
  7. Decision-Making: Making informed and timely decisions, considering the impact on both individuals and the organisation.
  8. Delegation: Effectively assigning tasks and responsibilities, trusting team members, and promoting a sense of ownership.
  9. Problem-Solving: Analytical skills to identify and address challenges, encouraging a culture of innovation and continuous improvement.
  10. Team Building: Creating a cohesive and collaborative team by fostering a positive team culture, promoting diversity, and recognising individual strengths.

Tips for Strong People Management

Any effective people strategy is built on these three pillars:

  1. Firstly, prioritise effective communication. Regularly engage with your team, actively listen to their concerns, and provide clear and transparent information. Communication builds trust and fosters a positive work environment. This is essential for those aiming to be successful people managers!
  2. Secondly, invest in employee development. Provide opportunities for skill enhancement, training, and career growth. This not only benefits individuals but also strengthens the overall capabilities of the team.
  3. Lastly, lead by example. Demonstrate the values and work ethic you expect from your team. A strong and ethical leadership presence sets the tone for the workplace culture, inspiring dedication and commitment. In summary, fostering open communication, investing in development, and leading by example are pivotal in cultivating a harmonious and high-performing team under effective people management.

managing people

How to Develop People Management Skills

If you’re hoping to advance within HR and professional development is top of your agenda, try enacting these steps to build on the key people management skills mentioned earlier.

  1. Self-Reflection and Assessment: Begin by reflecting on your current strengths and weaknesses as a manager. Solicit feedback from colleagues and subordinates to gain valuable insights. Identifying areas for improvement provides a foundation for focused development. This is where all great business leaders start!
  2. Educational Investment: Invest time in learning about people management through books, courses, and workshops. Stay informed about industry trends and best practices. Continuous education ensures you are equipped with the latest knowledge and tools to excel in your role.
  3. Embrace Emotional Intelligence: Develop emotional intelligence by understanding and managing your emotions and recognizing those of others. Strengthen empathy, practice active listening, and build rapport with team members. Emotional intelligence is foundational to effective leadership.
  4. Hands-On Experience and Leadership Opportunities: Seek leadership roles or projects that provide practical experience. Leading a team, even in small capacities, allows you to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world scenarios. Learn from successes and challenges to refine your approach.
  5. Feedback and Adaptation: Actively seek feedback from your team and stakeholders. Embrace constructive criticism and make adjustments accordingly. The ability to adapt your management style based on feedback fosters a dynamic and responsive leadership approach, ultimately improving your people management skills.

HR Management Resources

This fast-paced and ever-evolving field calls for constant re-learning! Here are a few helpful resources:

Using HR Technology to Optimise People Strategy

Factorial is an all-in-one, digital HR software that converts manual, people management processes into integrated, effective ones. Our easy-to-use platform automates administrative tasks, empowering HR professionals to focus on what really matters: people.

Our comprehensive, user-friendly platform facilitates:

  • Time management
  • Payroll
  • HR reporting
  • Talent acquisition
  • Employee onboarding
  • Performance management
  • Remote internal communications
  • And much more.

Book a free demo of Factorial to find out how our platform can adapt to the needs of your company!


Emma is a Content Writer with 5 years of Marketing experience. She specialises in HR strategy and modern workplace trends. When she's not writing, she's running by the beach or cooking Italian food.

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