Eric Jacobson

HR Handbook Is For All Managers

In General Leadership Skills, Hiring, Job Descriptions, Leadership Books, Leadership Education, Leadership Skills, Leadership Training, Performance Appraisals on January 12, 2010 at 9:28 pm

It’s unfortunately too common for an employee to be promoted into a management position with little to no Human Resources (HR) training.  Similarly, many small business owners don’t have a dedicated human resources person so they end up muddling their way through critical human resources issues while wearing the HR hat.

These are some of the reasons authors Sharon Armstrong and Barbara Mitchell wrote the book “The Essential HR Handbook,” described by them as “a quick and handy resource for any manager or HR professional.”

If you don’t have the time or funds to attend HR training at a nearby educational institution or if there is not within your workplace a qualified and seasoned mentor to teach you HR skills, this book provides the novice manager important basics, accompanied by real-world examples and templates that you can readily use as you lead your team of one or more employees.  It’s also an excellent refresher for managers who need to hone their hiring, onboarding, and performance evaluating capabilities.

Within 250 digest-size pages, authors Armstrong and Mitchell cover:

  •        Strategic planning
  •        Mission statements
  •        Optimal staffing
  •        Interviewing
  •        Orientation and onboarding
  •        Training and development
  •        Performance evaluations
  •        Benefits
  •        Compensation
  •        Employee relations
  •        Legal considerations
  •        Diversity
  •        Technology
  •        21st-Century workplace challenges

So, the book covers the core elements of the HR function, and includes in each topic section/chapter a summary “Main Message For Managers” that serves as both a quick read for those with limited time and as a reminder point for future reference.

One of the most important chapters walks the reader through the entire performance appraisal process where the authors caution managers to watch for these pitfalls when rating employees:

  1.        Clustering everyone in the middle performance-rating categories
  2.        Overlooking flaws or exaggerating the achievements of favored employees
  3.        Excusing substandard performance or behavior because it is widespread
  4.        Letting one characteristic — positive or negative — affect your overall assessment
  5.        Rating someone based on the company he or she keeps
  6.        Rating someone based on a grudge you are holding
  7.        Rating someone based on too short of a time period
  8.        Rating everyone high, to make you look good

In addition, even seasoned managers who interact with their HR staff can benefit from, in particular, reading and learning the lingo in the chapter on legal considerations.

When Armstrong isn’t writing books, she’s reading, and one of her favorite leadership books  is “The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave,” written by Leigh Branham, of Keeping The People, Inc., in Overland Park, KS.

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