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Natalia Rossingol

What is a Staff Manager? Key Roles & Responsibilities

Time to optimize the efficiency and effectiveness of your team? Hiring a staffing manager can be a good starting point. Here's what the role involves.

Human resources are generally considered the most valuable asset of any business. And since in organizations people work in teams, the coherence and consistency of employee collaboration determine whether the company goals and objectives will be achieved.

However, managing human resources is only one of the numerous duties of a leader. So to take off some of the leader's workload, the responsibility to develop effective staffing policies and bring them to life can be assigned to a professional who specializes particularly in this field – to a staff manager.

Let’s discuss the role of staff managers and explain why they can be of great use to your organization.

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What is a staff manager?

A staffing manager, sometimes referred to as a resource manager, is a specialist responsible for guiding and supervising employees, keeping them motivated, and improving their performance. Staff management covers several administrative duties, including processes like recruitment, training, maintaining discipline, and rewarding.

The role of staff managers is to provide support for line managers – links in the organization’s management hierarchy, involved in the production of goods and services, who are in charge of the daily management of their teams. Unlike line management, a staff manager does not make any business decisions, performing an advisory function.

Staff manager vs staffing manager

The terms "staff manager" and "staffing manager" can be used interchangeably in some contexts, but they can also have slightly different meanings depending on the organization and industry. Generally, the differences, if any, are subtle and might not be universally agreed upon. However, here are some potential distinctions:

Staff Manager:

  1. Broad Role: A staff manager may have a broader role that encompasses various aspects of managing a team or staff within a department. This could include responsibilities related to team performance, development, and day-to-day operations.
  2. Team Management: A staff manager could be involved in overseeing the work of a team, ensuring that tasks are completed, and addressing any issues that arise among team members.
  3. Leadership: The role of a staff manager may involve leadership responsibilities, focusing on guiding and directing the team towards achieving organizational goals.

Staffing Manager:

  1. Specialized Role: A staffing manager often has a more specialized focus on the recruitment and placement of personnel within an organization.
  2. Recruitment: This role may involve activities related to sourcing, interviewing, and hiring new employees. A staffing manager could be responsible for ensuring that the organization has the right people with the right skills in the right positions.
  3. Talent Acquisition: The term "staffing" in this context often relates to the acquisition and management of talent, ensuring that the organization's staffing needs are met.

In summary, while the terms may be used interchangeably, a "staff manager" could have a broader role that involves overseeing a team's overall performance, whereas a "staffing manager" might have a more specialized role focused on recruitment and talent acquisition. However, the specific responsibilities associated with these roles can vary across organizations, and it's essential to consider the context in which these terms are used.

What does a staff manager do?

Staff managers take responsibility for the following:

Recruiting and hiring talent

A staff manager identifies the organizational needs that have to be covered and creates corresponding positions, as well as interviews potential employees and provides all necessary training and career guidance.

This may also include creating a staffing plan, a document that determines whether you have the people and skills to achieve your business objectives, which is an important element of strategic staffing – aligning your workforce with your business strategy.

A staffing management plan is a great instrument for project managers. By developing the required skill sets, identifying the resource gaps, and providing the timelines for activities like hiring and training, they can make sure their projects will always have enough resources.

Managing staff schedules

To avoid situations when certain employees are overburdened with work while others waste their time, staff managers take care of resource allocation. This way, they make sure tasks are assigned to the employees with the right skills and that these employees are available at the moment and able to finish the task on time.

A great way to manage resources is to use resource management software. For example, Runn lets you get a clear picture of your employees’ schedules and capacities against workload, track demand vs supply, and create future project scenarios.

Managing staff schedules can help you deal with problems like:

  • Understaffing – a lack of resources, caused, for instance, by poor working conditions or stagnant wages, which leads to frustration and burnout of employees who have no choice but to do more work;
  • Overstaffing – the opposite situation, when you’ve got more people than needed, which may happen because of unexpected market change and leads to increased costs (as the company needs to pay more wages than necessary) and morale issues (as people feel disengaged).

Managing onboarding

A staff manager is in charge of the onboarding process, helping newly hired employees integrate into the organization through:

  • Explaining the characteristics of the organizational structure, the peculiarities of the company culture and values, it’s mission and vision.
  • Providing initial training – to help new team members fully understand their roles and responsibilities, possible challenges, and where to find support to overcome them.  

Besides, staff managers may organize different workshops and courses to let people who have been on the team for some time acquire new skills, necessary to complete certain projects. 

Reviewing staff performance

Periodic performance reviews help a manager see if the company works on its current and future objectives, uncovering problems and looking for ways to resolve them.  

At the same time, performance reviews let a staff manager notice those who work exceptionally devotedly – and make sure that their efforts are appreciated.

Retaining employees

While it’s crucial to recruit and hire good specialists, it’s just as crucial to create all the necessary conditions to keep them in a company. To retain employees, staff managers play a crucial role in fostering a strong company culture – communicate values and make sure they’re maintained, listen to concerns and respond to them, and let every person on the team feel they are a part of something bigger, developing a sense of belonging.

It’s also very important to give credit. Job satisfaction is more than a cliché term – it actually directly influences the performance and, consequently, a company’s profits. Problems with motivation might cause a high employee turnover, making the company lose important assets.

One of the ways to keep people motivated is to appraise employee performance, which can be done through compensation or job responsibilities updates. Monetary rewards, as well as a promotion, are the most straightforward methods of showing appreciation. A possibility of moving up the career ladder is a huge motivational factor.     

What makes a great staff manager?

Good communications skills

A staff manager functions as a liaison between line managers and employees, so building and maintaining communication is one of the most important responsibilities in this role.

In particular, the communication startegies of a staff manager may include the following:

  • Getting to know the employees – their unique skills, schedules, concerns, and ambitions. By talking to people, a staff manager gets an understanding of who is involved in what, what challenges people go through, and how the work process can be improved.
  • Providing feedback. Good quality communication is impossible without feedback. Feedback keeps both a manager and team members aware of possible issues. And while it’s important for a manager to discuss things with employees, guiding and supervising them, it’s no less important for employees to share opinions with the manager, to make sure they get more than just a superficial understanding of the situation. In other words, feedback must be mutual – and timely, provided at team meetings or in person.  
  • Providing clarity. For a team to work coherently, each team member must have clarity about the departments’ goals and individual duties. The job of a staff manager is not only to distribute work but also make performance expectations clear, providing an exhaustive job description for every employee. This will help maintain collaboration within a team.

Regular communication also helps to read the overall mood in the office, finding out if people are satisfied – and if not, what are the reasons behind it. Discussing issues might prevent serious conflicts, or help constructively solve already existing ones, which means staff managers should actively participate in conflict resolution.

Organizational skills

A staff manager is expected to organize the work of human resources in such a way that they fulfill the company’s goals, and this can be done only by developing structural processes.

Understanding and forecasting the company's needs, analyzing what soft and hard skills are required to cover these needs, establishing a hiring budget, developing onboarding programs, and creating and aligning schedules require both a vision and a detailed-oriented work approach. 

Empathy and trust

To truly understand the needs of staff and their concerns, a staff manager has to actively listen, focusing on what’s being said and trying to see the objective picture.

That’s why managers should develop psychological safety – the environment where team members can voice their opinions and concerns, and also share ideas. By showing empathy and trust, staffing managers improve working relationships on a personal level. This is the basis for open communication and constructive feedback that contribute to employee motivation and retention, letting people feel empowered.

Signs that your organization needs a staff manager

You might still prefer handling the responsibilities of a staff manager without hiring an actual specialist. But if you're already pretty busy, this can have negative consequences for your company – like inconsistency with rewards, which causes resentment, a failure to recognize and remove biases and related bullying, aggression, and discrimination, or high turnover.

Let’s see what things can signal that your organization needs a staff manager:

  • Lack of employee engagement. When people are not motivated, they will show poorer results, or just leave. If you notice these tendencies – mediocre results, no initiative, or high turnover – this is a sign you might need a staff manager to find the problem and then an effective solution to it.
  • Under- or overstaffing. When people on your team struggle to meet the deadlines because they simply lack time, involved in too many projects simultaneously - or, on the contrary, when they do not have enough responsibilities, it means staffing problems, which can be addressed by a staff manager.
  • Overwhelmed leadership. The list of things managers are in charge of is long. Delegating HR issues to a staff manager can make the life of a business leader significantly easier. This is especially true for big companies with a large number of employees.     
  • Structural changes in an organization. The development of new departments or company downsize requires changes in staffing policies. Relocation of business, new visions and investments or, vice versa, lack of projects or funds lead to the necessity to create new positions, augment staff, retrain the current workers, or fire employees, which can be handled by a staff manager.   

Conclusion

Staffing is a very important element of management, as it ensures the success of teamwork. By developing recruitment strategies and organizing the smooth work of employees, staff managers boost performance and maintain a positive work environment, this way helping the company avoid turnover and retain the best employees that will lead it to success. 

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