My Take: Lessons from ‘Most Admired for HR’ Companies

September 27th, 2019

Preventing high turnover in this job market means keeping employees happy, and that starts with great HR.

Here are a few thoughts on the biggest intangible asset for most companies – its reputation. It manifests itself in employee satisfaction, customer loyalty, the ability to attract and retain the best and brightest job seekers, you name it. Building your brand is an important part Part of brand-building comes from rankings on “best of” lists, like Fortune’s “100 Best Places to Work” and its many offshoots.

But what about the brand of the HR departments within those companies? You don’t hear a lot about that. Fortune and Korn Ferry Hay Group are changing that by putting together a “Most Admired” list based on a variety of criteria, like innovation, people management, and social responsibility. Out of that database, we get the “Most Admired for HR” list, which, this year, includes Disney, Starbucks, Google, Netflix, and others.

At the HR Tech Conference held in Las Vegas in September 2018, CHROs from some of those “Most Admired for HR” companies got together for a panel discussion about what “great HR” means in today’s business climate. Interesting, thought-provoking stuff. Here are some highlights, as reported in Human Resource Executive magazine.

Great HR is:

• Having a talent mindset at all times.
• Being very good at picking winners, getting them to join, and getting them to stay.
• Making employees feel their input is valued within the total business strategy of the company.
• Ensuring the people they’re hiring for leadership positions make it possible for employees to bring their best selves to work every day.
• Having a “no replicants” policy when hiring to ensure diversity of background, education, race, and gender. (I’d add age to that list.)
• Looking beyond constraining degree requirements and realizing, for example, people with liberal arts degrees may well make great investment bankers.
• Investing in employee enrichment and knowledge, even if it might not have immediate ROI.

I would argue that, in this job market, it’s more important than ever to have great HR in your organization. And I’m not just talking about the skills gap and not being able to fill lower-paying jobs. According to a recent Gallup Poll, the proportion of Americans looking for greener pastures is at a 17-year high. Fully half of American workers report that they’re hoping to leave their current job.

What that means for employers is turnover, and if you’ve been in HR for five minutes, you know how much turnover costs companies. Time spent interviewing, lost productivity, down time while the new hire is trained, not to mention the loss of institutional knowledge the departing employee takes with him or her, the list goes on. Turnover of highly skilled workers is especially costly. According to Deloitte, it has hit an average of $121,000 per departing employee. Ouch.

Obviously the key to preventing high turnover is to retain your employees, and that starts with great HR. What would you add to the above list?

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