How an MBA helps in people managementChen Wan Lim
American engineer, statistician, professor, author, lecturer, and management consultant, William Edwards Deming once said “A manager of people needs to understand that all people are different. This is not ranking people. He needs to understand that the performance of anyone is governed largely by the system that he works in, the responsibility of management”. Suffice to say, people management is an art and a science on its own. This is where an MBA, up to a certain extent, can help managers and potential managers tackle the art of managing people effectively and bringing people together for the common goal of achieving targets set by an organisation. Modern MBA courses do include topics, subjects or courses revolving around people management or organisational management. Such courses teach candidates on what to expect from employees, how to address these expectations and also managing changes in an organisation. These are some focus areas where an MBA teaches candidates to address and subsequently manage people in an organisation:
The basic theoretical steps in a recruitment process are to first and foremost identify and justify the need for a talent. Next, recruitment managers need to identify suitable candidates with matching job skills and lastly, to track and record if the talent is performing according to expectations. Specialised MBA such as MBA in Human Resources equips potential candidates with necessary skill sets to undertake recruitment exercise with better insights following a more structured and scientific approach.
Rewarding performing employees and penalizing under-performers are usually done by following agreed-upon guidelines. However, most often, the line gets blurry when employees start challenging performance targets and measuring procedures. In MBA courses, depending on the specialization, there are case studies and discussions on how to reward/punish performers and slackers, how to formulate wages systems, how to set key performance index, how to offer competitive or ‘market rate’ wages and how to reward overachievers. These topics are discussed in organisation behaviour and people management courses.
Training and development
Training and development are part and parcel of people management. According to HRMorning.com, one of the top five reasons why employees leave is due to lack of proper training. This is where human resource managers have the task of constantly training and retraining employees to undertake a role more effectively. Succession planning is also one of the key issues where organisations need to identify high potential employees and future leaders. MBA courses with subjects in people management in changing environments address this issue and discuss the need and best approach to handle training and development in an organisation.
The setting and tracking of key performance index is a collective effort by heads of departments and by the human resources department. The proper setting of KPIs is important as much as setting realistic and achievable targets. This is where an understanding of the nature of management, managers, employees and the work that they do in an organisation is important. MBA courses up to a large extend addresses these areas of interests and help candidates better understand an organisation in a holistic manner.
Measuring employee satisfaction can be done via feedback forms and informal interviews. Skills needed for this purpose would be the knowledge in conducting surveys and analyzing data. However, a point to note is that surveys for such matters must be conducted whilst protecting employees’ confidentially in order to obtain true and accurate feedbacks. All these can also be learned and discussed in MBA courses where best practices can be shared and discussed amongst candidates.