Skills Management

10 Tips For Becoming A Successful Personnel Manager

Ever wondered how the big names in personnel management got where they are? Read these 10 tips to see how to become a successful personnel manager.

Ask any CEO what they consider their most important resource and the response you are likely to get is “people.”

This viewpoint, which cannot be more correct (in my opinion), implies that personnel managers who are tasked with managing this most important resource can greatly impact a company with their programs and policies.

In fact, a group of CEOs who were interviewed by Human Resource Professionals Association (HRPA) stated that the role of personnel managers is critical to business success.

We can expand on that to conclude that successful personnel managers are a major building block for successful companies.

And so, for our blog this week, I have put together some of the best tips for Personnel Management success, with the aim of making you the personnel manager that every company wants.

These tips include excerpts from the book “Best Kept HR Secrets”, by Alan Collins, former VP of Human Resources of PepsiCo.

Let’s jump right in.

1. Know The Business

This is one point every resource seems to agree on. Personnel managers who understand the business are better able to tailor their practices and policies to the overall business objective.

Instead of being focused on keeping everybody in their best behavior, they are actively conscious of creating and sustaining a workforce that helps the business succeed.

As one CEO puts it, Personnel Managers “need to map out HR organization strategy to the business strategy—do we have the organization design and people to get there? If not, what’s the plan?”

2. Go Easy On Legislation And Policies

This point complements the one above. In order to give more attention to business priorities, a skillful personnel manager focuses less on laws and policies, many of which may have limited business value.

3. Develop “An Eye” For Top Talent

There are many articles and books that contain information on how you can do this. We even published one in July that highlighted 7 important interview questions that can help you recruit the best.

Even if you had been doing pretty well in hiring, you want to continue to improve your ability to attract and employ the right talent, as this is crucial.

If a personnel manager brings people into a company who repeatedly turn out to be “not very bright bulbs,” his/her credibility will suffer.

Conversely, if you can bring in and retain the right talent, you become a key player in moving your company towards its goals and objectives.

4. Learn To Communicate And Recruit With Social Media

“A very strong trend expressed spontaneously and frequently by CEOs was the expectation that HR have a solid grasp on how to use social media to communicate with and recruit employees.” – HRPA Report

You can hardly become a successful Personnel manager in this era if you do not learn to use modern talent goldmines such as Linkedin, Xing, TalkBizNow, and other business social networks.

5. Start Your Own Blog

Many “ordinary business people” (if I’m permitted to use that phrase) have quickly become successful in their fields because they picked up their computers and started blogging.


As soon as people begin to look to your blog post for career tips and advice, you go from being just another worker, to an authority in the field.

And as your blog grows, so does your reputation. It may not be long before your name starts getting mentioned in other popular blogs and websites.

The best part is, getting started isn’t really hard. You can start your blog by following this tutorial.

6. Request For And Appreciate Feedback

Ask employees what they think about any processes or policies you have put in place.

And don’t be put off by negative feedback. Even if an employee’s view or suggestion is impractical or overly critical, receive it graciously and thank the person for contributing.

The best part is, considering the viewpoint of employees will help you create policies and programs that work better, and would be more readily accepted. This is the exact reason companies treasure and act on feedback from the customers who use their products and services.

Beside employees, feedback can come from others who are experienced and in a position to offer professional tips, such as a mentor, or a company executive.

7. Update Yourself Regularly on Personnel Management Trends

Google the phrase “personnel management trends” and you will find a number of articles listing what’s hot. Who knows, that program you are thinking of implementing may be considered “so last year” by big names in the field.

A successful personnel manager needs to know how things are being done right now, what new software packages are increasing employee productivity, how new laws affect employee agreements and policies, etc.

8. Learn To Predict Trends

Besides keeping up with current trends, you should also be able to foresee how current events could give rise to future workforce and business productivity trends.

“[Personnel Managers] are expected to forecast the social and people trends that will impact the business. ‘Be like Wayne Gretzky,’ said one CEO. ‘Know where the puck will be and help me get there before it.’

“[CEOs] want HR to translate trends into valuable opportunities for the company, preparing the workforce, as one CEO said, ‘to drive more productivity in the business.’” – HRPA Report

9. Specialize

It is good to have adequate knowledge on the various aspects of people management. However, you don’t want to be the person who is just average at everything.

There should be one aspect you know so well, people consult you when they need advice.

10. Fill Your HR Team With People Who Are As Good As, Or A Little Better Than You Are

”David Ogilvy, the well-known advertising wizard who founded the Ogilvy & Mather advertising agency, never spent a day in HR, but had an orientation practice that all HR leaders would appreciate. He established a wonderful tradition of welcoming new leaders in his organization with a gift of five wooden dolls, each smaller than the other, one inside the other.

“When the recipient finally gets to the fifth little doll, the smallest doll, and opens it, he finds the message: ‘If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs, but if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.’” – Alan Collins (Best Kept HR Secrets.) 

By: Mesheal Fegor
Sales & Support 


CEO Perspective Research Highlight – HRPA
Best Kept HR Secrets – Alan Collins

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