by Charles Marson, Head of Employee Relations & Human Resources Business Partnering at Falmouth University

Corporate brochures and annual reports are full of phrases like ‘we value our staff above all’ and as a people management professional it will be no surprise that overall I endorse such sentiments. The issue I have is do all companies know why this should be the case and what it really means to authentically live by this.

Charles Marson

For me the answer to the first point is the same as the reason I am passionate about my profession and particularly draws on my experience of working in the NHS.

Some time ago research was undertaken that found strong associations between HR practices and patient mortality. This was quite a game changer for HR in the NHS and gave a fresh impetus to making sure people management was taken seriously – after all, if you know patient chances of living depend on doing a good appraisal, how could you not?

So, if this link can be established for health care it underlines that for any organisation having staff who are engaged by their employer will lead to better commercial outcomes. Of course, what leads to engagement is a treatise in itself but it includes staff who feel listened to, empowered, valued (not just financially), cared for and developed. Authenticity can then be added by getting that line of sight between what bundles of people management practices have an impact on business outcomes, accepting much of this will be specific to your business, and the demographic of those who work in it. This in turn allows an organisational narrative to be developed that majors on those key people management interventions and allows each individual themselves to see clearly how what they do contributes to business strategic objectives. Importantly, it should make that narrative believed in as its significance to organisational success is realised.

And that brings me to my last thought as a new business contemplates taking on its first employee. Think of them as the ambassador for your future image – get all aspects of their employment right first time and whilst working for you, and after they leave you, they will promote your business as an employer and a service provider.