Four Levels of Staff Management

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Staff management does not only concern itself with 'managing the staff'. It has several other functions, which are briefly discussed here...

At the Base: Operational Staff Management

Since work relationships between employer and employee carry a certain exchange, cooperative and hierarchical dimension, such a relationship is never really free from tension. This is the reason why management is quite important at this level. This means that several factors need to be carefully assessed:

  • Who is or is not appropriate for a certain function.
  • Achievements need to be assessed and properly rewarded
  • Skills need to be maintained or updated (through, for example, training courses)

This is the most visible part of staff management, often implemented by those that are directly leading those on the work floor (such as team leaders, or managers).

Setting Course: Strategic Regulation

Companies and institutions depend on their ‘environment’ for their existence. They have to fulfill a function on the economic market, possess sufficient financial means and be able to attract employees. So, in every organization, decisions have to be made to safeguard the existence and longevity of the organization. These decisions are often made by the top of the organization, the board of directors, for example. Such decisions, in turn, have a substantial influence on the role of the staff in the company.

The focus of this level lies on the maintaining of the longevity and continuity of the organization, more than on the staff events themselves.

Fitting Up the Company: Tactical Staff Management

After the course is set, the company needs to be organized in such a way that the goals that are set can indeed be achieved. Based on the chosen course, means have to be chosen and distributed, with attention to the strategic points mentioned in the previous paragraph. Strategic and tactical decisions are indeed often considered and made in close internal coherence.

When determining the paths that could lead to the fulfillment of the set goals, a thorough insight in the effects on staff level of different decisions is advisable.

Staff Management and Society: Institutional Regulation

Organizations or companies also generate social effects on a large scale. They determine the wealth level of a country or region, create job opportunities and decide who can partake in the work process. So it is not surprising that work relationships (just as the companies themselves) are subject to social or institutional control. In the course of industrial history an intricate network of labor institutions is brought into existence (such as unions). These exert influence on what can and cannot be done in the relationship between employer and employee.