The length to which companies will go, to attract and retain the best employees, is impressive.
Dr Seuss-style interview rooms, onsite childcare, psychedelic artwork, $5000 employee referral incentives, lavish parties, "purple promises" and "fine dining principles" are only a modicum of the strategies discussed at the 2008 Human Resources national conference.
"Life's too short for the wrong job" was one of the underlying messages throughout the conference and an underlying theme was that the only way to hold on to your best employees is to make them happy. Employees have to enjoy coming to work and it is the job of HR to create a situation and an environment where this is possible, where it is possible for an employee to do a job well, and be motivated and happy in doing it well.
It is also the job of HR to make the company stand out from the pack in terms of what it offers employees, to differentiate it from your competitors. While some may see this as marketing, according to thought leader Penny Burke, the only way to become a successful HR practitioner is to think like a marketer. Employees won't come to you unless you market yourself properly and they won't stay unless you continue to do so.
Many companies are doing this, and doing it well. They have realised that only through innovative, creative and effective people strategies will they attract and retain the best employees and thus strengthen their company to face any external challenges.
So it is time to applaud these HR talents and recognise the work being done. And this year's finest will be hailed at the HR Awards on 30 October, allowing companies to demonstrate the huge impact HR has had on the success of their business. Departments who really have been forward-thinking, innovative, and partnered with the business to help drive the goal of the business will get a chance to showcase their work among their peers.
But the awards are not only about celebrating goals already achieved, they are also about giving ideas to other companies and other HR practitioners who will be inspired to step back and have a look at their organisation, see what they can do to make a real difference in their company, and how they can be in the running for 2009 glory!