Attracting and retaining the very best staff

Updated: 2012-05-08 09:20

(China Daily)

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Editor's note: This is the final part of a two-piece series about the importance of human resources in a company. It continues by introducing the role the management team should play.

A company's culture is often driven by its management. HR practitioners are realizing executive leadership is key to creating effective organizations with dynamic human capital.

Even in developed countries many managers are surprisingly still lacking in leadership qualities. Employees are often marginalized and being micro-managed by their supervisors. Recurring issues such as superiors playing favorites, bosses humiliating subordinates in front of other people, managers interfering with their personal time outside the office and setting impossible deadlines are common gripes in exit interviews.

The latest word in management from the experts is the concept of servant leadership. It explains how many managers today are struggling with the realization that they are there to serve and not to be served. These managers have worked very hard to move up the hierarchy and, in the process, the power, money and recognition that come with the promotion moved them away from the people that have contributed to their success. Their ego gets in the way and they begin to think that leadership is all about them.

To be an organization recognized by the industry as the provider of choice, employer of choice and investment of choice, a company's HR staff has the responsibility of ensuring its managers are equipped with strong people management skills and trained in leadership skills so that they can build a culture of inspiring, motivating and encouraging their people to bring out the best in them.

The increasing competition for talent has spurred a new generation of compensation, benefits, privileges and rewards programs to attract and retain people. Salaries have a very short shelf life and, given the long hours people now work, modern perks that are offered as part of non-salary packages are perceived as highly attractive and, sometimes, even more crucial than the take-home pay itself.

The organization that topped the 100 Best Companies to Work For list offers an on-site pool, 11 gourmet restaurants, pool table and climbing wall, plus unlimited sick leave, five weeks of paid time off after a year on the job, tuition reimbursement and classes in estate planning and foreign languages.

A true people organization seeks to reward its employees in ways that are meaningful to them and empower them to be their best by offering a work environment and benefits that recognize the needs, interests and values of their people. Such human-focus initiatives just might be what a company needs to gain an edge over another in the competition for the best talent in the market.

(Contact for career ideas and advice.)

Advice given by Richard Ni, associate director of consumer sales and marketing and HR division at Robert Walters China.