All Posts Tagged With: "culture"
Fortune recently named Google number one among the 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2012. Explaining its decision, Fortune wrote: “Everything was up at Google last year—revenues, profits, share price, paid search click, hiring—and so, too was employee love…Employees rave about their mission, the culture, and the famous perks.”
Larry Page, Google’s co-founder and CEO, explained what he thinks draws people to Google: “You want to be working on meaningful, impactful projects, and that’s the thing there is really a shortage of in the world. I think at Google we still have that. We’ve always had that in spades.”
Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information. “I don’t think we’re going to run out of important things to do,” Page observes. He sees his role as a leader “to make sure everybody in the company has great opportunities, and that they feel they’re having a meaningful impact and are contributing to the good of society.”
Google is a great place to work because it values its people. It engages them in the mission of the company. It encourages high performance. It provides compensation, rewards, recognition, and benefits that demonstrate the value it places on its employees. As a result, Googlers, as they are called, give their company a …Steve George | 1 comment | Continued
In his book, The Culture Cycle, James L. Heskett wrote that effective culture can account for 20-30% of the differential in performance when compared to “culturally unremarkable” competitors.
Culture has a significant impact on the bottom line.
Burson-Marsteller and the Great Place to Work Institute asked senior executives from 20 of the top 25 “best multinational companies” for 2011 about the value of a positive work environment. Deidre Campbell highlighted the findings in this article on the HBR Blog Network:
- They invest more in their employees: 30% are investing more in work-life programs such as flex-time and health benefit while the other 70% are holding steady. None is cutting back.
- They provide stability: 75% of respondents valued most those programs that communicate brand mission and provide career development opportunities, compared to 15% who valued traditional benefits like health insurance and family leave and 5% who valued onsite benefits such as cafeterias and childcare.
- They value culture: “When asked which elements of workplace commitment most benefit daily operations, companies ranked culture at 80% and recruitment/retention at 70%,” writes Campbell. Competitiveness, customer loyalty, innovation, and productivity each garnered less than 20%.
- They share their story: 70% of respondents said customers are the most important external audience for understanding the company’s
If you have spent much time with senior leadership teams, you know the typical pecking order of those who report to the CEO. Finance on the right hand. Sales on the left. Operations, Marketing, IT, and Legal close by.
And then there’s Human Resources, which seems to have inherited a seat at the table. It performs essential services—recruiting, hiring, compensation, benefits—that every company needs, so it can justify its presence in the C-suite, but it rarely carries the influence that shapes strategy or drives performance excellence.
But it could.
Brad Power writes about this in “Why Doesn’t HR Lead Change?” He defers to Dave Ulrich, a University of Michigan professor recognized by HR Magazine as the most influential person in HR, who said there are three human resources processes that are critical to embedding a culture of continuous improvement:
Talent flow. Human Resources can develop processes for hiring and promoting that recognize the attitudes and behaviors their companies seek. Managers hire for expertise, not attitudes and behaviors, yet attitudes and behaviors that align with and support the culture and direction of the company are essential to continuous improvement. HR can make sure this dimension is considered.
Rewards. “Continuous improvement demands that people not only carry out their jobs, but …Steve George | 0 comments | Continued
It’s always refreshing to hear a company that excels at serving customers describe its approach, especially when that company is in an industry that generally treats its customers like cattle.
Hawaiian Airlines has ranked among the leaders in customer service for years and is routinely ranked first by the US Department of Transportation for on-time performance and fewest cancellations. Charles Nardello oversees aircraft, flight, and customer service operations at Hawaiian Airlines. In a recent article on the HBR Blog Network, he discusses how the airline improved operational performance while maintaining service excellence, citing three things a company must do well “to maintain an unbeatable level of operational excellence: (1) Get very close to their customer; (2) Benchmark against itself on a consistent basis; and, (3) Empower employees to address the unexpected.”
A customer focus permeates Hawaiian Airlines. “For every decision we make, from the most basic to the complex, the customer always comes first—they are the driver of our decision-making and strategic planning,” writes Nardello. A culture that brings the customer perspective to every decision acts far differently than a company where customers are an afterthought or are only considered when addressing customer issues.
Hawaiian Airlines has an independent agency survey customers every month on their experiences with the airline …Steve George | 0 comments | Continued
“It is in the enlightened self-interest of business to forge economic growth models that create larger societal value than shareholder value alone.”
I doubt if there are many on Wall Street who agree with this opinion, which was put forward in this article by S. Sivakumar, group head of the Agri & IT businesses of Indian conglomerate ITC. But then, I’m not sure anyone on Wall Street really cares about shareholder value either. Accumulating personal wealth seems to be their driving force.
The Great Recession being felt worldwide can be laid at the doorstep of corporate—and personal—greed, housed by soulless companies like Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, and others. By wrecking the economy for the 99%, they spawned Occupy Wall Street, a movement that has become an international voice against the damage being caused by these companies.
Sivakumar’s company is a refreshing alternative to Wall Street gluttony. ITC has been “water positive” for nine years (created twice as much freshwater potential than it has consumed), “carbon positive” for six years (sequesters twice as much carbon as it emits), and “solid-waste-recycling positive” for four years (recycles all wastes from its industrial operations). “In addition, these innovative business models have led to the creation of sustainable livelihood opportunities for over …Steve George | 1 comment | Continued
According to Doug Conant, former CEO of Campbell Soup, “a leader’s job is to take people from where they are today to where they need to be tomorrow and to do so as quickly as possible and in a way that is sustainable.” Conant’s results at Campbell Soup suggest that his leadership approach is effective: The company was the worst performer of all major global food companies when he arrived as CEO in 2001. In 2009 it outperformed the S&P Food Group and the S&P 500.
Along with Mette Norgaard, Conant has written a book about his leadership philosophy called Touchpoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments. IndustryWeek reviews the book here.
In his book, Conant describes how he turned around Nabisco Food Company, his gig before going to Campbell Soup, “with a philosophy of being tough-minded on the standards and tender-hearted with people.” “Some joked that my approach was a cross between Pollyanna and Don Quixote,” he said, “but I have no apologies. The people were highly engaged and delivering excellent results. We grew earnings at a double-digit rate for five straight years. If that’s a sign of weakness, I’ll take it every time.”
He used the same approach—successfully—at Campbell Soup. The approach focuses …Steve George | 0 comments | Continued
Fast Company blogger Seth Kahan recently led a roundtable discussion among senior HR professionals about three tough questions they face (article here):
- How does strategic HR drive competitive excellence?
- What skills does HR need to develop to contribute in the C-suite?
- How is talent acquired to build the future, to achieve the organization’s strategic objectives?
The conversation produced these insights:
- HR is positioned to drive competitive excellence if it is fully aligned with business goals. The Baldrige Criteria ask a key question about this: What are your key human resource or workforce plans to accomplish your short- and longer-term strategic objectives and action plans?
- Organizational capacity building is a direct and powerful contribution HR can make if it is fully aligned with the future direction of the enterprise. In addition to the question above, the Baldrige Criteria ask: How do you organize and manage your workforce to address your strategic challenges and action plans?
- Senior HR professionals must be well-versed in business drivers including financials, industry, market circumstances, and competitive intelligence to be considered a player in the C-suite.
- As the world transitions from hierarchical leadership to self-organizing collaboration, HR is positioned to support or drive this shift. The HR section of the Baldrige Criteria addresses this