Companies and organisations are always working on training and development in some part of the business. Each initiative can be approached in a great company manner so that ideas are embedded through every person who undertakes a programme, coaching or training.
People departments - or human resource departments, as they are generally called - have a huge role to play in supporting the company in building a strong culture. Taking the great company philosophy and making it the context for people development changes not only what you do but how you do it. Look at issues of development in that light and emotional intelligence becomes the underpinning for managers and leaders, emphasising understanding self and others, listening skills, coaching, and inspiration.
HR is also in a position to further the culture by recalling the stories and building them into induction, so that everyone knows the history and overall context of the company. In Southwest Airlines, the head of HR is known as the ‘Keeper of the Culture', heading up a team of storytellers who keep the history of the company alive. Knowing where we come from is essential for companies as well as for people - it is one way we understand ourselves.
However, this does not mean that HR can take full responsibility for creating a great culture. The line management must retain ownership of the initiative if it is to work, even though some line managers would love to hand it over in full! Everyone must play their part, working collaboratively to ensure getting the very best out of every contribution. And without managers taking their rightful place at the centre of their own team culture, there is no chance of developing a positive workplace (see Chapter 6).
To assess how effectively HR is supporting the line, consider present training and development initiatives with a great company eye:
Begin with the guiding principles of the company - how well are they reflected in the development work you do to date?
Consider the programmes and initiatives you have in place and see how they contribute to or detract from a great company culture.
How well does your leadership development support a positive people culture? Is it evenly spread between business understanding and people skills? Include the elements of great company culture and servant leadership in the process to encourage them to take a lead.
Managers are really important in great company culture - how much support do they get with their people skills? They ensure the development of talent, and measure and reward effectiveness - without them, people are working in isolation. At Flight Centre, everyone is considered to be a leader and the team leaders are the most important people in the company - do you value your managers this highly?
Great company culture is a very real way for HR to impact on the bottom line. It is an opportunity to move out of the rather negative mindset some companies hold, and into a positive, strategic role. Create a presentation that will reframe HR in the minds of the senior leaders, using statistics and stories from this book.
Evaluate the present recruitment process against the information in this book. Consider how closely the process relates to the principles- are you getting the people who will feel at home with the organ- isation? Balance this against the length of time people stay - this is a good indicator of effective recruitment.
Look at reward and recognition - being valued and appreciated is something we all want. It is the route to high performance. People want to do a good job and be recognised for it. We are not just talking about money here. Congratulations, expressions of appreciation at a team meeting, a quiet word to say ‘Thank you and well done,' a cake or glass of champagne on someone's birthday are all ways of recognising someone's efforts.
Above all, make sure you are a ‘great' team - role modelling is the most effective way forward. If you say one thing and do another, your initiative will be dead in the water. To quote Stephen Covey, ‘You cannot talk your way out of something you have behaved your way into.'