The Three Human Resources Drivers of Company Success

Steven Cesare, Ph.D.

A business owner from Indiana contacted me the other day about how overwhelmed he and his company have become due to all of the human resources programs, laws, and procedures. In response to steady growth, his company’s human resources’ responsibilities have exploded recently and he couldn’t seem to get his arms around all of them in any meaningful way. At a managerial level, he was uncertain about how to resolve the issue, bouncing between multiple options including adding internal administrative or HR headcount, outsourcing the functions to a PEO, or believe it or not, hiring a Human Resources consultant to provide him with some direction.

While supportive of his plight, I acknowledged that this is the standard operating procedure. If human resources are going to get done correctly, it takes up a lot of time and effort; if it’s done incorrectly, it will take a lot of money in terms of lawsuits, fines, and inefficiencies. To that end, I told the owner to categorize his human resources responsibilities into the three categories which are most valuable to a company’s success.

1) Staffing:

Without sufficient labor, the company cannot be successful for any sustained period of time. Staffing encompasses an organizational chart, recruitment, social media, job applications, screening procedures, job descriptions, interviewing, salary scales, conditional job offer letters, new employee orientation, on-boarding programs, employee retention goals, and a succession plan. Whether these functions are conducted internally or externally, they must be professionally-designed, implemented consistently, and monitored on a weekly basis to maintain the foundation of the company’s labor-capital going forward.

2) Accountability:

Accountability implies organizational and individual benchmarks. At the organizational level, the company is directly accountable for all legal compliance (e.g., EEO, OSHA, I-9 Forms). At the individual level, every employee is responsible for achieving a business goal, directly or indirectly. If not, the employee should not be employed in that the employee is not adding demonstrable value to the organization. Accountability encompasses business goals, departmental goals, and individual goals all of which should be communicated to the applicant during the selection interview. This culture of goal clarity is reinforced during the New Employee Orientation Program in which the employee receives an employee handbook outlining policies and procedures the employee must comply with to be successful in the organization. Moreover, early in the onboarding process, the employee must quickly understand his/her performance expectations and how they contribute to company success; the employee is then held accountable for their achievement through one-on-one meetings, 30/90-day development review, annual performance reviews, supervisory coaching, corrective discipline, rewards and recognition programs, promotion or dismissal, and merit-based compensation. Without accountability, the human resources system has no validation and the company has no future.

3) Training:

Successful companies train their employees; in fact, they never stop training their employees. Training specifies the best practices by which employees are held accountable for attaining. Training typically entails three categories: compliance (e.g., sexual harassment, safety tailgates, new employee orientation), position (i.e., skills directly related to the employee’s position; equipment training for a field employee, labor scheduling for a Foreman, or computer training for an office employee), and supervisory (e.g., delegation, coaching, conflict resolution, interviewing). Ongoing training represents the company’s continual investment in its employees; an investment that promotes improved staffing and accountability, which when taken collectively, define company success.

If you have any questions or comments about this topic or anything else related to human resources, simply call me at (760) 685-3800.


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Steve Cesare Ph.D.

Steve Cesare Ph.D.

has more than 25 years of Human Resources experience. Prior to joining The Harvest Group, Steve worked with Bemus Landscape, Jack in the Box, the County of San Diego, Citicorp, and NASA. Steve earned his Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Old Dominion University, and has authored 34 human resources journal articles. As a member of The Harvest Group, Steve’s areas of expertise include: staffing, legal compliance, wage and hour issues, training, and employee safety.  Read Steve's full bio.