Principles of Human Resource Management new knowledge for five key learning points

1. Introduction

I will attempt to explain, research, apply the knowledge to my organisation & make recommendations, and provide new knowledge for the following five key learning points:

“A company/business cannot grow without, until its leaders grow within” [3] ,

The key to retention of the right people is role sculpting,

Mentoring is not coaching,

“The rate at which an organisation learns may become the only sustainable source of competitive advantage” [4] , and

Diversity is inclusivity.

2. Key Learning Points

2.a) Key Learning Point – “A company/business cannot grow without, until its leaders grow within” [5] 


The premise of John Maxwell’s statement and this key learning point is that leaders’ growth precedes company growth and the company’s growth is directly related to that of its leader’s growth. Leaders growth is also be extended to growth of managers and employees, creation of a “learning organization”.


Research on this key learning point indicates the following process to grow the business by growing its leaders:

“Creating a climate for potential leaders” [6] ,

The environment has to be conducive for change, an environment in which people will excel, an environment which will automatically produce individual growth and therefore company growth, and most importantly of all, a positive environment.

“Identifying potential leaders” [7] ,

The right person for the job has to be selected that has / will have the ability to influence people to achieve company goals. This is not an easy task. The potential downside is if the wrong person is hired you are committed and reversing the decision is costly is all respects.

“Nurturing potential leaders” [8] ,

According to John C Maxwell, nurturing is not only about rewarding with money / shares etc. but it’s also about changing the person life by “believing in them, encouraging them, sharing with them and trusting them” [9] 

“Equipping potential leaders” [10] ,

The person is given the given the ongoing training they require for their current roles and responsibilities

“Developing potential leaders” [11] ,

The person is given the given the ongoing development they require for the position with the focus being gearing up for the future.

“Coaching potential leaders” [12] ,

The employee is equipped, empowered in their current roles and responsibilities

“Realizing the value to and from potential leaders” [13] .

Harnessing the growth in the employees to achieve company growth. It is important that the growth is perpetuated throughout the organization, a learning culture.


Our business is a family owned property development, construction and property investment business. It grew organically to a point where an executive management team was appointed (sourced internally & externally) to take the business forward, as the owners felt that they did not have the skills to do so.

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This management team has had the necessary training. Development is currently being undertaken by WBS MAP and a mentorship program; however, this is in reality a coaching program.

The following issues have been identified:

Learning / growth is only happening at an executive management level and not below,

The owners are battling to “let go”. This creates uncertainty in the executive management team and is not a positive environment conducive to change,

Nurturing has taken place but trust remains an issue, and

Coaching has taken place albeit under the guise of mentorship.

The following are the recommendations:

A learning culture should be created throughout the organization,

For learning and change to take place, confidence is needed in the executive management team. This will require the owners to let go and trust in their appointees,

Systems, procedures together with levels of authority are required for decision making to alleviate the trust issue, and

A properly structured mentorship program is required.

New Knowledge

We need to develop and surround ourselves with leaders as we are only as good as those that report to us. This will form the basis of a very good team. Doing this will enhance our effectiveness by creating leverage through staff. This will enable us to drive the strategies of the organisation.

2. Key Learning Points (cont’d)

2.b) Key Learning Point – The key to retention of the right people is role sculpting


Retaining the right people (talent war) for the right position and employee mobility is a worldwide problem as people “below the age of 35 years move jobs every 5 years and in South Africa every 2.5 years” [14] . Job sculpting is the “art of matching people to roles that allows: 1) Their deeply imbedded life interests, 2) Their abilities, and 3) Their values. This is expressed in work satisfaction and commitment, and leads to growth and success.” [15] 


Business environments are continually changing and consequently the role of the employee needs to follow suit. Strategically and using the HR Database, a GAP analysis is performed of where we are now versus where we want to be. A decision is then made as to the role of the employee (with employee engagement and employee consent [positive buy-in]). Implementation is then planned and executed.

It is a given and of paramount importance that career management and career development have and are still taking place.

It is also a given that the right person, at the right time, with the right complimentary talents is required. Once again this comes from the HR Database. It is also a given that Role description and role specification are required. The “sculpted role” is then monitored through performance management.

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Role sculpting does not exist within the organisation for which I work. Retention of talent is done by paying above market salaries and talent mobility has not been a problem since the world economic crisis started in 2008.

GAP analyses are performed resulting in changed employee roles, however employee consultation requires attention. Strategies are effective executed but there is need for a HR Database. There is also a need for career management and career development have and are still taking place. Role description and role specification are done. The “new role” is monitored through performance management.

New Knowledge

The retention of the RIGHT people is hugely important due to the skills shortages being experienced in the country. What I have found personally is that skills available out there have become more expensive than the existing skills we have ‘bought’ over the past 3 to 5 years. What I’m raising here is that companies are paying above market salaries for an average skill due to the shortage thereof. Staffing and retention of staff has become challenging and complex, hence the importance of ‘the key to retention of the right people is role sculpting’.

2. Key Learning Points (cont’d)

2.c) Key Learning Point – Mentoring is not coaching


Mentoring IS NOT the same coaching as is often confused by organizations.

Mentoring is voluntary process focusing on relationships, guidance and advice. The outcome of mentoring is EMPOWERMENT. A mentor does not teach.

Coaching is a compulsory process with the focus on teaching within the employee’s roles and responsibilities. The outcome of coaching is TRANSFORMATION. A coach teaches.

Mentoring and coaching form part of training and development and both build people’s confidence through their successes.


Per the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Development), London, surveys [16] the use of mentoring and coaching as part of a broader HR personal developmental tool is on the increase, with 72% of companies surveyed using mentoring and 63% using coaching.

The use of mentoring and coaching is used as part of a broader HR personal developmental tool.

“Mentoring refers to a developmental relationship with a more experienced ‘expert’ and a less experienced (and usually younger) protégé. The use of the term coaching on the other hand (as in the art of coaching people) has its origins in English traditional university “cramming” in the mid 19th Century.” [17] 

Per an article written by Jo Lamb on 24 April 2008, Workplace Coaching and Mentoring,

Exploring the Key Differences to Maximise Personal Development [18] , Mentoring and coaching are similar in light of enabling employees (therefore employers) to try and gain full potential by leverage with the employee. However, the fundamental differences are 1) Timing – mentoring does not have a time frame and can go on indefinitely (even through career changes) but coaching does have a very specific time frame, 2) Experience and qualifications – mentors are experienced in the field they are mentoring in whereas coaches are not necessarily experienced in this field, and 3) Focus in mentoring is not as specific as that of coaching. The success of the coaching and mentoring programs were questioned as they were more often than not left to managers who did not always have the time and sometimes ability to see the process through to fruition.

I don’t necessarily agree with the fundamental timing difference 1) above as mentors within an organisation are bound by time. You could however have an “outside” mentor who could mentor you across many employments. I also don’t agree with experience and qualification in 2) above. My opinion is that this is the reverse; coaches have specific knowledge whereas mentors may have specific knowledge but the mentoring takes place on a ‘generalist’ level and specific job knowledge is not required.

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Mentoring takes place within the organization for which I work, but I feel that the mentors were not properly ‘trained’. This was key to the process not working as intended. There was only one mentor for each mentee and confidentiality was an issue.

Coaching does take place, but it is ad hoc and informal. There is a need for coaching to be formalized.

New Knowledge

There is an ongoing argument that mentoring and coaching can be viewed as the same within training and development. I do however feel that the mentoring is empowering and coaching is transforming.

The biggest downfall of mentoring and coaching programs is the whether they take place correctly, or if at all (monitoring and feedback sessions would be required, and whether the coaches and mentors are properly qualified to mentor and coach respectively.

2. Key Learning Points (cont’d)

2.d) Key Learning Point – “The rate at which an organisation learns may become the only sustainable source of competitive advantage” [19] 

Synthesis (15)

Research (30)

Application (30)

New Knowledge (20)

2. Key Learning Points (cont’d)

2.e) Key Learning Point – Diversity is inclusivity

Synthesis (15)

Research (30)

Application (30)

New Knowledge (20)

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