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Understanding the keys to effective personnel management

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Most managers know that trying to keep track of employees, with their various projects and skill levels, is a daunting task. Perhaps it is not so bad when you only have two employees, but when you …

Most managers know that trying to keep track of employees, with their various projects and skill levels, is a daunting task. Perhaps it is not so bad when you only have two employees, but when you work in an organization with 500.

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  • 1. Understanding the Keys to Effective Personnel Management Most managers know that trying to keep track of employees, with their various projects and skill levels, is a daunting task. Perhaps it is not so bad when you only have two employees, but when you work in an organization with 500, it is simply impossible to keep track of these resources without a little help. Here are some of the ways in which managers can manage theirpersonnel more effectively in order to maximize success.1 – Understand Employee Skills and AvailabilityDifferent projects require different skill sets. For example, a project team might requireengineers, sales representatives, plant managers or R&D professionals. Finding the rightperson to assign to a project or task can be extremely challenging without the rightresource management processes in place.Even when managers understand resource availability, it changes. They might run aroundand get all of the vacation schedules recorded in a big spreadsheet, only to find that a weeklater it has all changed. Rather, what managers need is real-time access to team memberschedules, tasks and available time. This makes assigning people to tasks much easier. Thesystem should also be web-based, since the team is probably not all in one workspace 24hours a day. Spreadsheets do not work very well because they do not allow for globalaccess from various participants (and they also cannot be audited).2 – Allocate Resources EffectivelyOnce you understand resource schedules and availability, you will be able to allocate themmore effectively. In a 100 person organization, for example, there are always five or tenpeople who are overbooked. Everyone wants these people to work on their projects, andevery time one of them takes a vacation or gets sick, the organization groans. Conversely,there are other people who are under-utilized. When a manager has visibility into this,he/she can fix the problem. For instance, if a resource is 100% allocated, the manager
  • 2. should not assign them to a new project. If another resource is only 70% allocated, themanager knows that they are free to do more work. Often, managers are unaware of theseproblems without the right data, and it can lead to lost profits from under-allocatedpersonnel as well as the eventual burnout of over-allocated personnel.3 – Track Time by Project and TaskProjects are executed in order to bring in a positive return on investment (ROI). Managersand executives, however, cannot know if a project was successful or not unless theyunderstand its total cost. The cost of labor is often a major factor in total project cost, sotracking time to projects and tasks is an inescapable requirement for measuring projectROI.In addition, project time tracking allows managers to address problems much faster. Forexample, if a manager sees right away that 10% of a projects allocated budget has beenspent and only 5% of the work has been completed, he/she has a fighting chance ofrecovery. A manager who does not have this information early on will find out much laterthat their project is drastically over budget. This is just one example of how real-time dataenables project managers to fix problems before they start.When you have 5, 10 or 25 people reporting to you, it becomes increasingly difficult toknow what they are working on at all times. Is John wasting time on a project that is not allthat important to the department, or the company? Is Mary spending all of her time onsomething a colleague has asked her to do, while neglecting the project you really need herto work on? When your employees are not tracking their time, you just dont know, andwhat you dont know can most certainly hurt you.4 – Identify Staffing GapsBy categorizing your staff by skills or function, you can assign the right people to the rightjobs. For example, if you need an engineer, you can easily find one who is available for thetime frame you need. You can also use this data to identify staffing gaps. If you only havetwo engineers who are consistently working at over 100% allocation, you know that youneed to hire additional ones. Again, you would not have known this without the data aproject and resource management solution can provide.5 – Know Which Projects You Can HandleWhen management asks if you can take on a major project and complete it by the end of themonth, how do you answer? You might say yes and then scramble to free up the rightpeople and get them to execute the project by the deadline. You might also refuse theproject, despite the revenue it would bring, because you are unsure whether your people
  • 3. can handle it or not. With the right solution, you no longer have to guess. You know whichemployees with the right skill sets are available and which are not.The success of a project and, ultimately, a company, depends on ones ability to managepersonnel effectively. The larger the organization, the more difficult this becomes withoutthe right system to provide visibility and communication. Keeping tabs on who you haveassigned to tasks, how long it should reasonably take them to complete the tasks and howmuch effort they are making are the three key components to avoiding trouble in the longrun. Once you get those down, you will be able to execute your projects with ease, makingyour company successful and your customers happy.Reference Link: http://www.theicpm.com/blog/item/4687-understanding-the-keys-to-effective-personnel-management