Currently, business organizations face numerous challenges, which may incapacitate their functions and in extreme cases render the company obsolete. One of these challenges is technology, for a company to be cost-effective; it needs to adopt efficient technology in its operations. This is an expensive venture, which requires massive investments. It is again a risk venture in that a lot of resources are required, and maybe by the time that happens, reinvestment will be inevitable given the short lifespan of most innovations. According to Caputo (1988, p. 84), the most pressing and challenging aspects in managing through systems is setting goals, aligning them to objectives and managing the required resources to optimize productivity.
An effective system is the foundation of many organizations and the basis for many managerial decisions, which management systems help improve. They are routines and procedures in an organization that are formulated to carry out specific duties or to solve problems. One needs to be conversant with business systems and the way they interface with the other aspects of the organization in order to succeed in management. The management system is a framework that is proven and is used to manage and continuously improve processes in an organization. When used correctly, management systems cause lasting and positive change and help achieve high work performance within a business organization. The opposite is quite obvious; there has been a lot of emphasis on management through systems at the expense of managing people (Churchouse 1998, p. 13). Managing through systems has a myriad of benefits. The manager focuses on the objectives of the firm without side distractions. This is efficient because clear responsibility and roles are defined, making it easy to manage issues. Here, it is also easy to give priority to key issues since the human element, which is complicated, is not put into consideration.
An effective system helps manage businesses risks of any nature, be they environmental or financial. It improves the organization operational effectiveness, while reducing costs, promoting innovation and efficiency. They can lead to a firm’s downfall if not used appropriately by a well-informed manager. According to Gitman and Carl (2008, p. 59), managing through systems is a human resource practice that is considered hard by many scholars. This is because people are seen as secondary or as means to achieving the required results. Human resources are the competencies and skills that employees have, which are invaluable to a firm. They are not just limited to skills that they have but also their ideas and opinions.
People do not think in a homogeneous way, and appreciating each others idea is one of the first steps towards making the workers feel appreciated, valuable and needed. This plays a part in fulfilling some of the needs in the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. They are extremely pertinent and a manager’s most challenging task is how to manage the workforce. They must be led, hired and fired, motivated, disciplined, inspired and evaluated, all these balanced carefully to bring out the best in every individual with the aim of maximizing their productivity. Exponential growth in a firm puts a lot of pressure and extra demands on employees. This problem is not solved, even when new people are brought on board, its takes time to groom and train them, by that time the existing employees will be tired and de-motivated, hence, prone to poor judgment, which may slow productivity.
Managing a business implies managing both employees and customers’ issues. A manager must ensure that there is maximum effort to hire quality employees to succeed in business. Technology can never be replacements or substitutes to manpower. A manager should be willing to invest in recruiting through a rigorous process, motivating and retaining the best employees. For many businesses, employees give a competitive edge in that systems can be replicated and are valuable, especially if they are empowered to make decisions and considered as investments. In the changing business environment, some employee tasks have been shifted to the customer, for instance, in the airlines industry, customers are the ones that book their tickets and boarding passes. This is the reason why managing employees and customers is paramount to any organization. Empowered employees are those, who have the right power to make right decisions for the customer, as well as the resources that are needed to implement the decisions. This employee is easy to manage because he or she derives satisfaction from the job. The amount that a manager needs to invest in people is not standard because it largely depends on his perception on how much the said employee contributes to decreasing costs. Managers have realized that empowerment is vital because all employees have unique skills and capabilities, which can be of immense value to the organization.
Managers should always keep in mind that talented employees just like good systems are hard to be found. Succeeding in hiring them and keeping them, contented through effective management, is a difficult task because they are also competing with other industries for the same source of labor. Hiring the wrong person for a job is not only costly in terms of money but also time. Negligent hiring is a thorny issue in managing people because, in most cases, the manager and employees will be a case of reading from different scripts. Research studies confirm that there is a high demand for many educated and skilled workers because managers consider a workforce that performs highly as a very important factor in any firm’s future success (Armstrong 1998, p. 47).
Employees must be trained professionally to equip them with the skills and knowledge to perform their assigned tasks with ease. The training programs must ensure that the employees are able to cope with the needs of the company. Training is a function of management and it helps them improve their performance, grow by giving them advanced skills in terms of output and its quality and speed, hence, encouraging them to identify with the firm. They should not be trained on not just the technical skills but on the people and administrative skills as well, together with knowledge on how to function as a team. What matters most is the evaluation of the said employees. This is mostly through a performance appraisal, and it shed light on how well an employee is performing as related to the set standards. The way an appraisal is carried out affects their morale and eventually manageability. This should be an ongoing process.
A manager’s role goes beyond just hiring and training staff. He should motivate them to aspire to be the best, hence, improving their current performance. Employees gain confidence, when they achieve a level of competence and mastery of a specific skill. All motivation theories assume that some form of motivation must be applied to make employees perform well. Incentives like commissions and competitive remunerations are a start, in addition to helping them achieve, the need of self actualization by ‘being all they can be.’ This goes a long way in reinforcing the fact that cash is the only primary motivator. A way to motivate employees is to set challenging yet achievable goals, so as to yield the highest level of performance through low turnover and job satisfaction.
Caputo (2006, p. 68) states that employees are expensive and the best way of attracting, motivating and retaining them is through fair compensation. Compensation refers to the direct payments of wages and salaries to employees. This helps to achieve a human resource goal. It also helps employees meet their needs and satisfy their personal needs. The compensation package should be tailored to suit employees’ needs and should meet the requirements of fairness, balance, security and it should be prompt and regular.
The value, derived from managing people efficiently, can leverage an organization’s revenue by up to 40%. Employees are needed for their creativity, imagination and inquisitiveness, qualities that are essential in research and development. In the right environment, systems and people complement each other and this flatters the organizational structure and general management. Managing entirely through systems is what scholars call ‘managing despite people and not through people.’ Managers should not expect employees to change behavior unless an appropriate environment for work is created, and means of rewarding them is stipulated. Machines can not be compared to people. That is why people manage machines but machines can not manage people. Organizations will attain great heights if they focus on human input as opposed to machine contribution.
A good manager should be the one who provides leadership, takes responsibility for actions and is accountable for the processes of the firm. Managers should possess interpersonal skills because it is by them that goals will be accomplished through people. Managing people requires that a manager communicates properly with the employees; understands their behavior, while motivating them to accomplish their own as well as the company’s objectives. It also includes sensitivity to their needs. Employees follow a leader who they respect and who has a clear purpose as well as sense of direction (Caputo 1988, p. 32).