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HR's Role in a High Performance Culture

By Ian Cornett on January 18, 2017

HR's Role in a High Performance Culture.pngWhat fuels a high performance culture? A commitment to creating and maintaining a high performance culture must originate at the top and be embraced by every individual within the company—but each company department has a part to play, including HR. From gauging the mood of your workforce to spearheading development efforts, HR can help support your high performance culture in critical ways. Here’s how:  

Hiring for Culture Fit

Once you’ve built a high performance culture, it’s up to HR to help maintain that culture by hiring candidates who fit with your company’s new direction and focus. It is HR’s responsibility to not only fill the role appropriately, but to also ensure that the candidate will fit and, more important, contribute to the company’s culture. A candidate might be professionally accomplished, but if his or her values don’t align with the company’s, then it’s HR’s job to turn away candidates who don’t fit the company’s culture. Plus, hiring for a good fit with your high performance culture has several benefits beyond keeping your culture intact. Studies have found that when employees fit well within their company, they tend to stay at that company longer, exhibit greater job satisfaction, and—yes—have greater job performance as well.

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Training the Next Generation of High Performance Leaders

A high performance culture isn’t a “set it and forget it” endeavor. Maintaining a high performance culture means embracing a strategy of continuous improvement and taking working with visionary leadership, who are committed to a high performance culture, for the long term. This is where HR comes in.

A forward-looking company understands the importance of priming the leadership pipeline. When it comes to culture, that means not only investing in individuals who are high performers themselves, but investing in those who exhibit talent for bringing out high performance in others. In a high performance culture, leaders inspire their colleagues to commit to the company vision, build loyalty, and own their performance outcomes. But inspiring, insightful leaders aren’t created overnight—and even those with natural leadership talent need encouragement and a safe environment to finesse their skills. HR can help ensure that your company has a deep bench of leaders who can maintain a high performance culture for the long term by implementing effective leadership development programs.  

Rewarding High Performance Achievement

Part of nurturing a high performance culture means frequently and sincerely rewarding or recognizing your highest performers. Publicly recognizing achievement through HR programs or communications serves as an encouraging reminder of what desired high performance looks like and sets the standard for high performance throughout your company. Plus, formal recognition of high performance can actually lead to more high performance in the individuals being recognized. Studies have linked employee recognition to higher rates of job satisfaction, stronger relationships with managers, and greater employee engagement—all of which have also been linked to better job performance. HR plays a crucial role in employee recognition and incentives, which means HR holds the key to maintaining a company culture where high performance is expected, encouraged, and rewarded.  

Identifying and Measuring Signs of a high performance culture

How do you know if you’ve truly achieved a high performance culture? The numbers don’t lie. It’s imperative that you tie your culture goals to concrete, measureable data to determine your ROI after investing in major culture transformation. Many times, that means tying high performance initiatives to financial results, but HR plays a role here too. Signs of a thriving company culture include lower turnover and high employee engagement, both of which are within HR’s purview. Employee satisfaction surveys, retention rates, and other standard HR data take on new meaning and importance after you’ve implemented major culture change.

If you’re in the midst of—or anticipating—undergoing a high performance cultural transformation, what other ways do you see HR playing a part in facilitating and maintaining the culture change?

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Ian has been with Eagle’s Flight since 1997, and is Executive Vice President, Global Accounts. He holds an MBA in Finance and Marketing from the University of British Columbia. Ian spent 12 years at Nestlé Canada and brings a wide range of experience that includes practical business experience in management, sales, program design, development and mentoring. He works closely with the Global licensees to ensure their success as they represent Eagle’s Flight in the worldwide marketplace. He has developed outstanding communication skills and currently is the Executive in Charge of a large Fortune 500 client with a team of employees dedicated to this specific account. As a result, Ian has been instrumental in driving the company’s growth and strategic direction.

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Founded in 1988, Eagle's Flight has earned its reputation as a global leader in the development and delivery of business-relevant, experiential learning programs that achieve specific training objectives and lasting behavior changes.

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