A holistic approach to people management – The Island


Business-oriented people management by Franklyn Amerasinghe to be launched soon, confirms that people management is about understanding that people employed are more than a resource for generating profit and that they are as valuable as the investor himself …

by Randima Attygalle

“Thousands of students are now considering entering the field of ‘people management’ and a downside for them is that they usually study human resource management as part of a certification program, but they don’t. ‘often have no exposure to a holistic analysis of how the People Management function is integrated into the functioning of the business.’

The preface to Franklyn Amerasinghe’s latest compilation, “Business-oriented people management”, to be launched soon, underlines the fundamental objective that the author seeks through his work. The author who alludes to the Human Resources function or the HR function as ‘People Management’ further specifies: “The term ‘Human Resources’ leaves a bad taste in your mouth. He seems to see the human element as another resource like money. People management is about understanding that the people employed are more than a resource for generating profit and that they are as valuable as the investor himself. “

The book which deals with the evolution of human resources management, the business sector and its rules of governance, people management and performance management, globalization and international obligations, the legislation of work, collective bargaining, leadership, conflict management and much more, enables the ‘People’s manager’s perspective on how decisions are made and also indicates the benefits to boards of directors. ” have a people-centered approach to their trade policies. The sustainability of the business and the social aspects of the business are also taken into account.

The book, Amerasinghe explains, provides a basic picture of how a private sector organization complies with its multitude of obligations relating to all stakeholders. A publication of the Ceylon Employers’ Federation (EFC), Business-oriented people management ‘, as noted by its former CEO / CEO, Amerasinghe, is “designed as an additional aid to all people responsible for managing people, whether or not they are designated as HR staff.”

Amerasinghe, who was also a senior specialist at the ILO for employers’ organizations in East Asia, testifies to his rich experience in his research. A prolific writer credited for numerous functional compilations on workplace mediation and cooperation, conflict management and social dialogue, he has also served on numerous prestigious boards and committees in the public and private sectors.

His latest work provides insight into executives who manage people and how they should fit into the overall achievement of business plans. An unfortunate trend, the author notes, is that such executives focus very exclusively on their immediate tasks and targets, neglecting the larger image of the organization. “The fact that every senior executive contributes to the achievement of a business plan is sometimes overlooked in the pursuit of personal goals. Further, many believe that blindly and unquestionably following the policies conveyed by senior management is loyalty and sufficient. Every employee, at whatever level, should be encouraged to contribute to the development of the company and its policies. Some areas of activity mentioned aim to identify the People Manager as vital to the business interests of a private sector organization which is dynamic and seeking sustainable growth, ”notes the author adding that the People Manager has two distinct functions: his performance and to encourage others with whom he interacts to play their part in the performance of the company.

Current management structures, the author observes, reflect that increased responsibility for people management lies outside the traditional HR department, although policy development and monitoring of what is done at the departmental level would still belong to him. “So the book is meant to help all managers who are involved in managing people,” he says. The advent of digitization and new forms of work organization have shifted the “circumstances” of the HR manager to another level, shifting gears in his performance role, Amerasinghe explains. “The traditional role of the HR manager, however, remains the same, which is to make the employee satisfied and motivated to contribute to the organization. “

Paying great attention to everyday skills such as dispute resolution, negotiation and communication, the book also focuses on industrial relations, an area that the author considers today rather neglected, while the function HR is increasingly turning to isolate people at work and treat them individually. “It doesn’t usually work in the Sri Lankan setting because there is a cultural desire to engage in collective thinking, especially in rural areas. The days when the production and service centers were in Colombo has been replaced by a policy of moving to rural and suburban centers, with large numbers in industrial areas which attract large numbers of rural workers.

“The rural worker is conditioned by the pressure of his peers and a strong resistance to changing his traditions. The COVID pandemic which has seen massive job losses, especially at lower levels, will likely bring industrial relations back again deserving more attention, ”observes the writer.

Amerasinghe’s latest compilation also opens a window into the past in which companies have addressed the issues of their employees. Originally, the intention was to have an employee who would deal with “firefighting matters”. The development of HR strategies as a means of keeping employees in tune with the demands of the business was fostered by circumstances such as the union debacle in July 1980 and the disillusionment that followed. “There has been a remarkable shift in the culture of blue-collar workers by the movement of collective power into the workplace as opposed to the earlier reality of workers being forced to follow the diktats of political parties and their interests,” says Amerasinghe, whose latest book balances the benefits of collective agreements with employers’ desire to make employees focus more on their individual conditions and incomes, which he says is key to the strategy to motivate employees to be more productive.

The COVID situation, as the author further observes, reveals a new dimension, which is the futility of legislation to guarantee employment conditions in the face of employers who do not have the capacity to fulfill their obligations. legal “The law cannot force employees to defend their rights when faced with a situation where they must either accept what is offered to them or starve. The book deals with the legal situation and the need for employers to reflect on their social responsibility towards employees. “In addition, in the long run, they may have to look for new employees when they have to think about increasing their production or services again. “

The author in his book refers to personnel managers of the past who grew up in people management through a long association with the organization. “The more experience you have at the lower levels of an organization, the more effective you can be. HR staff should have mandatory internships. Through my book, I try to focus on the need to fully understand what the organization is and its responsibility which in turn falls on top management. He also adds that it is the responsibility of management to provide HR staff with the opportunity to constantly develop and be innovative.

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