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During the Graduation Ceremony of 17 September 2016 Mr Gerard Evers, tutor Human Resource Management at BSN, discussed the value of Human Resource Management for today’s and future managers. He concludes that ten golden rules need to be adopted and that future management will face four major and important challenges.

BSN Docent dr. Gerard EversDear graduands,

So, you are all managers, or will be soon. Good for you!

Now, as we all know, managers have to take into account many fields simultaneously. Finance, marketing, international business, logistics, technology, housing, and of course also personnel, or as we call it Human resources.

Managers should then be a kind of a Chinese circus artist who must manipulate seven large dishes at the same time. Isn’t that nice? It is indeed a big challenge.

Let me focus on HRM.

Today, we find many textbooks and management bestsellers that stress the importance of Human Resources Management. Several Harvard and London Business School books have put emphasis on this important part of a manager’s daily agenda.

But, you will ask, what is the rate of return of all this attention. What is the bottom line? Is it a waste of time? Or do we see positive returns on time investments and other expenses here?

Nowadays, there is much attention in the scientific literature on this topic. I mention among many others the work by Combs and others, that show that an increase of one standard deviation in the use of high performance work practices is associated with a 4.6% increase in return on assets (ROA), and with a 4.4 percentage point decrease in labour turnover. And all this was statistically significant.

Now, is that the kind of returns you would like? Yes, of course you would.

A second example. Applebaum and many others like Pritchard show in their work that that labour performance and productivity are dependent on three important elements:

A = abilities, knowledge, skills, competencies
M = motivation, drivers
O = opportunity, enabling work environment

In high performance work systems, this means that it is not sufficient to focus on just one of these elements. We should consider all three of them together.

So, what then are the keys to high performance from a managerial perspective?

In the literature and many meta-studies, we see that managers should focus. I give you 10 golden rules:

1. Communicate about mission, values, and pride
2. Create a collective state of mindfulness: Stick to the knitting, your core business
3. Stimulate entrepreneurial spirit
4. Have leadership on all levels, hands on, value driven
5. Hire people that fit the values and core strategic goals
6. Continuously train employees and offer career tracks
7. Develop proper reward systems that reinforce core values and provide feedback
8. Stimulate employee participation and empowerment, give them a sense of ownership
9. Focus on trust and motivation
10. Offer employment security

For this, a manager needs adequate metrics and tools, to evaluate outcomes. But, management is not just about tools and data only. You will all know and understand.

It is also about the psychological contract. One of the biggest challenges and pursuits in the future decades in my opinion is the pursuit of “mutual gains” (employer/employee) through the creation of more cooperative labor-management relations.

Recently, in a broad research project in Europe, there were 4 major and important HR challenges for companies:

• Managing Talent and improving leadership development
• Strategic Workforce planning
• Managing demographics and workforce analytics
• Managing change and cultural transformation

You could or should be working on these issues for the years to come!

Finally, in the next decades, you and all managers will have to deal with many other challenges too:

• an ageing population, with dangers for productivity and knowledge,
• with employees that have a higher education level are constantly looking ‘what’s in it for me’, and individual choices (work-life balance),
• with more emphasis om employees own responsabilities,
• with more emphasis with new styles of leadership and self-steering
• increasing dynamics on the labour market as such.

Me, I am old by now. I will just manage my own small firm and family household in the years to come.
Of course, I envy you, the new and young managers. You are here to take over the good work, and make your companies better and more efficient, have full focus on Human Resources issues too, and at the same time make the world a better place to work and live. That is the ultimate challenge. I am sure most of you will succeed, and I wish you all the strength, intellectual and morally, to pursuit this in the years to come.

Thank you for your attention.

LinkedIn profile of Mr Gerard Evers

Terugblik op alweer een fantastische Graduation Day

Speech Twan Paes MBA MALC

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