Managing People: Two Essentials That Underpin Effective HR Practice


There’s nothing special about sound HR practice. They are neither unique nor mysterious. Ordinary human beings can become quite skilled at practicing effective HR. I should know. I’ve worked in and around HR for about 50 years.


It all started when I found myself working as a Pay Clerk at the University of Melbourne in 1963. It wasn’t even a job I’d applied for. The University gave me the job while they sorted out an administrative problem with my enrolment as a mature age student.

Since then, I’ve worked in a wide range of businesses and industries either as a consultant or employee.

The Two Essentials

That experience has lead me to discover two essential “underpinnings” for effective HR practice. These apply particularly to managing employee performance, employee management or however you wish to describe so called “people management”.

But be warned. What you’re about to read won’t sit well with many HR “practitioners”. And there’ll be managers and employees who’ll accuse me of preaching heresy too.

The Gurus Won’t Tell You

And another thing: you won’t find any mention of my “underpinnings” in specialist books and articles by HR gurus.

The two underpinnings are


  • Business Primacy
  • Effective Marketing.


Business Primacy micropile contactors in colorado

Business primacy says that what’s best for the business comes first. It overrides all else. It has two main elements for managers and employees


  • The prime responsibility of the employee is to make a measurably positive contribution towards business success
  • The prime responsibility of the manager towards employees is to put systems in place that make it impossible for the employee to fail to make such a contribution.


Ensuring the sustainability of the business is the prime responsibility of both manager and employee.

If what you’re doing in HR can’t be directly linked to business success and sustainability, you should probably stop doing it.

Effective Marketing

This is most succinctly summed up by my friend, Bix Berry. “Marketing isn’t everything,” says Bix, “but everything is marketing”. I mean marketing in its broadest sense. I don’t mean merely promotion or advertising or product placement.

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