The Value of Human Resources
Hello, it is Stefan from 2GuyGames again. This time I wanted to share some of our thoughts and viewpoints on human resources and the meaning behind this management concept. “Human resources” or simply employees and their management (HRM) is one of the, if not the most crucial and valuable resource of most companies. They are often the driving force of innovation and value creation for Companies.
So wouldn’t it be obvious for modern companies to promote the perspective: “We appreciate our employees” (and they damn well should be)? However some of them, unfortunately, often act exactly the opposite way. Why is this the case and how does 2GuyGames address this very real dilemma?
First, it is necessary to understand, that employees are highly valuable. This becomes even more important in the field of programming, where a massive shortage of qualified employees exists. Moreover the work of programmers is mostly the only way for a company of that profession to create value and therefore earning money and making the profit. This Statement sounds rather obvious, but the truth is, that many companies still think and act otherwise. Especially corporations believe, that the perfect candidates for specific tasks can be found right behind the next corner and they will work for free.
However, let’s get back to HRM. Most people i asked about this field of profession think, that the only tasks of HRM are to hire and fire the “right” people. Hire the best and fire the rest. But if it were that easy to simply hire some qualified programmers, lock them up in a room and let them do their magic exactly as you told them, we really wouldn’t need HRM.
In addition, this management concept, unfortunately, struggles with serious discrediting. It is often viewed as the cold-hearted management, that only looks at staff payments and how to cut costs by firing people. Well, it is true that HRM is deeply concerned with the costs of employees because they are often the most expensive position of a company’s budget. But this is just one part of the deal. The concept is way more complex than just counting numbers, adjusting payments as well as hire and fire employees. Besides that, HRM is (and should be) also concerned with problems, essentials and desires of your employees to help them reach their full potential and makes them feel cherished and welcome. Manifold issues can be addressed with HRM like more obvious things like the organization of advanced pieces of training, salary negotiations or creating a general feelgood factor. Interpersonal relationships are also of great importance. After Dave, that just took a huge dump into your code base you two are not talking to each other anymore — that is a job for HRM! In short, you have to invest in your employees instead of consuming them!
Unfortunately, in reality, this topic gets even more complex or rather kind of problematic. Companies are bound by the natural laws of economics, which means that the possible positive effects of HRM, the so-called soft factors, often cannot be measured in money. Therefore, they are often viewed as not relevant enough to be considered thoroughly. Beyond that HRM can even be misused as a tool of force and unnecessary discipline, to squeeze more performance out of the personnel by e. g. firing seemingly not well enough performing staff, that evokes the fear of the personnel of losing their job too. I think it is self-evident that employees which are in fear of losing their job are never working at their best. Additionally this counts for innovations as well as long term profit for a company are anything but likely (I am looking at you here Activision-Blizzard!).
Marco and I both believe in treating people in a respectful way. This grounds on common sense. That includes first and foremost good wages of course, so that no employee has to fear not being able to pay his/ her bills. But these are only the basics, that not necessarily motivate employees. It may sound a bit textbook like, but to motivate someone you have to do a bit more. Be as fair as possible. Scold them if it is necessary and acknowledge their accomplishments. It sounds simple and maybe a bit dull, but a “Thank you” and “Good work Dave!” can work miracles to the motivation of anyone. Just ask yourself. You surely remember how motivated or at least satisfied you felt when someone complimented your work that you put a lot of effort into. Things like employee pensions and other countervailing benefit do their part too of course. And that is what we want to achieve at 2GuyGames as soon as possible when the money comes in to keep our heads above the water.
But this also has limitations of course. We do not romanticise our beliefs, because there will be tough times and maybe there will be tough choices like dismissing employees. However the general paradigm of putting your employees before your profits is what puts a company in the position to be successful in the long term, by ensuring motivation, continuous progression, innovation and therefore of course profits too.
Well, that is that for today. I hope I clarified our strategy for our employees a bit more and could entertain you a bit with our vision. Next time Marco will tell you something about the quality characteristics of programming, so stay tuned for some in-depth views on this topic.