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Human Resources: Culture Stewards in High-Performing Companies

 -  6/22/07

What creates high-performing companies? It’s a question every customer, investor and employee tries to answer, and one that academics and business theorists study and debate incessantly.


What creates high-performing companies? It’s a question every customer, investor and employee tries to answer, and one that academics and business theorists study and debate incessantly.

Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and Others Don’t,” writes that companies can’t achieve great things without great people.

But what defines “great people?” Are they the smartest, most ambitious, most aggressive?

In reality, creating a high-performing company depends on finding and hiring the right people, then nurturing, developing and rewarding those people to deliver “great things.”

This is the role of human resources departments: managing human capital in such a way as to create a healthy company culture that delivers high performance.

Every company has a culture, whether it is positive, negative or somewhere in between. Within this environment, there is a cultural steward: the company’s HR department.

The role of stewardship is a complex one. A steward can serve as an advocate and an assistant, as a guide and mentor — someone who often has to deliver the truth, even when it’s difficult to hear.

Within this context, the best HR professionals are people who shape a company’s culture by balancing creativity, especially in finding and developing talent and discipline.

Core Tasks of HR Professionals
As effective company culture stewards, HR professionals perform five key tasks:

1. Attract and identify talent. This process begins during recruiting with effective sourcing strategies and selection practices, and it continues once people are hired. HR needs to make sure the right people are being placed in the right roles within the company and that early on, employees understand and truly feel they are valued contributors.

2. Assimilate talent into the workforce. To accomplish this task effectively, the HR department needs to integrate new talent effectively, whether that talent comes as a result of hiring or from an acquired organization. Clearly, HR seeks to assure employees the company will strive to meet their needs while employees actively work to excel in their jobs. If done consistently well by HR, the company’s culture takes on a positive tone from the very beginning of an employee’s tenure.

Article Keywords:   measurement   metrics   performance management  


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