What are some of the most important employee management tools?

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Answered by: Charles, An Expert in the Managing People Category
When you consider the question of what are some of the most important employee management tools the idea of complex computer programs to determine human behavior, careful training of human resources staff and careful testing of employees can come to mind. So much of business is carefully input into computers to assist in the decision making process and to track sales and the like that modern management often believes that a computer program is the best guidepost for important decisions.

From my experience these are all worthwhile tools and their use can certainly raise the quality of management and its ability to capably manage the work force. However, these tools do not address the characteristics that best exemplify a truly seasoned human resources professional. I am not saying the earlier information is unimportant since it can form the basis to assist the professional in determining the application of other tools.

One of the best employee management tools of the human resources professional is the ability to effectively listen. Note the word "effectively" without which the interview, conversation or questioning process falls far short of what it can be. An effective listener does not simply write down the employee or prospective employee’s spoken word but takes into account facial expressions, body posture and voice inflection which occur in response to particular questions. The seasoned human resources individual makes a determination, as the interview progresses, based upon all of these factors as to what the person speaking is really saying. The notes taken during the course of the interview should reflect these perceptions while they are fresh in the interviewers mind.

Another, of the most important employee management tools, is the physical person who is actually conducting the interview or discussion. Their method of questioning, facial expressions and body posture can be used to make themselves more or less familiar with a person who is being interviewed. Depending upon the information which you wish to elicit, and your questioning style, you may wish to make the person who you are questioning more or less comfortable.

You can seek to accomplish this by your body posture, inflection and the wording of the questions themselves. It is even important to be in touch with the way these questions are delivered both in the construction of the sentence and the timing of the particular question. For example, you are receiving a response to a question and you lean back in the chair and cross your arms, in the meanwhile you are also attempting to maintain eye contact with the person being questioned. A natural feedback which they receive is that you are dubious regarding the truth of what they have said.

This should cause the person being questioned to provide you with even more information with greater detail than if you follow up your question with a more specific one. However, these tools must appear natural in their use. If the use is stilted the person being interviewed will pick up on it, go on the defensive and feel they are being manipulated. Once they put up a natural defensive barrier it becomes very difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff causing the value of the interview to perceptibly decrease.

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