Investing in the future - Part 5: Manpower - People




  The core of the business.

The diagram below was in Part 1 and the people are at the centre because the people are the heart of the business: without them you can do nothing and even the best investment plans will fail. The human and management resources are just as critical to successful investment as are the financial resources.

You may not recognise it but we invest a lot of money in the people we employ to get the results we need. This is not only in formal training but may also be in the time taken while they learn the job and the people involved in training them to get to know the job. This was recognised by the Government and the ‘Investors in People’ scheme was launched to try to make companies aware of the investment they have and can make in their people.

Knowledge and skill based business.

In many ways the investments we make in people are perhaps the most important and yet fragile of all the investments we make. Business is both ‘knowledge basedą and ‘skill based’ - this means that the key resources of your company walk out the door at the end of their shift or the end of their day. If they don't come back your company would effectively cease to function and would probably fail. You may convince yourself that this is not true but what happens when your key employees are on holiday?

Ignore this at your peril, otherwise some day this investment may not come back through the factory gate.

Training, development and personnel

The most obvious investments you make are in the field of training, development and personnel and these are:

Training: This is about learning and acquiring knowledge and skill. It involves learning about the job (either how to do it better or how to do it at all). It is also about gaining new skills so that the company can change for the better and is relevant at all levels of the business. As an investment there are two keys to getting the best return:

Training is not always about external courses and a great deal can be achieved by investing the resources that you already have internally.

Development: This is about gaining skills that you will need in the future in order to take effective action to improve the business. The key factors are:

Personnel: This is about the management investment in making sure that your employees work and learn effectively. The employees need to clearly understand their reporting relationships, duties, and performance standards. Investment in the personnel function must deliver this guidance and information to all employees.

A long term training plan needs to be drawn up and discussed with the employees, training records need to be generated and kept to evaluate the effectiveness of the investment. Certain aspects of this training plan will also be valuable in the attainment of BS EN ISO 9002

Training, development and personnel are investments that we make to create the skills to do the job. Without them all your other investments will count for nothing.

The easy and cheap ways to invest in people.

Investment in people is not always expensive and some suggestions are:

In other sections of this series I have encouraged you to invest in the maintenance of your machines to get the best out of them. The same needs to be applied to your employees: you need to invest in a maintenance programme for your people to get the best out of them and if you don't then they will leave or not work properly when you need them most.

The Investment Series.

‘Investing for the future’ is designed to challenge your concepts and ideas on investment for the future. Various aspects of investment are considered and discussed. The series is:

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2: Machinery - Plant & Equipment

Part 3: Materials - Products

Part 4: Methods - Procedures and Processes

Part 5: Manpower - People (This section)

Part 6: Measures - Performance


Last edited: 11/03/10

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