High performing companies often credit their success to their people. And yet, Human Resources (HR) managers and those who focus on the people of a company are often undervalued. If you believe the work you do as an HR professional is important, we agree with you - employee engagement is paramount.
Highly engaged employees lead to a successful, highly profitable company. That engagement is created an driven by the shared values of the company's employees. In a company with a positive culture, strong perceptions of company values boost employee engagement.
But companies do not achieve a strong sense of culture magically. It comes as the result of high levels of effort from those in the company focused on people: HR managers, training and development leaders, and managers who take a special interest in developing their employees. However, the people doing this work are often told that their work is less important than the financial sector or other areas of a business.
2/3 of HR Professionals Believe They Are Undervalued
The Harvey Nash Human Resources Survey of 2016 polled 1,253 HR leaders from over thirty countries. The results showed something startling: two-thirds of HR professionals believe the chief HR leader is undervalued by the CEO.
That's right. More than half of HR professionals polled believed that the highest ranking HR leader in their company was not appreciated, or was regularly underutilized, by their CEO.
If you are working, or have ever worked in HR, I bet this does not surprise you. The budget cuts and the requests to do more with less makes it harder to do your job the way it should be done. There us ab unspoken, yet deeply felt critique that it's hard to measure the ROI on the trainings you offer and development plans you create. All culminated, you're left with a terrible fear that what you do, what you have spent your life doing, is not important.
Truly Successful Leaders Know that HR Professionals Are Key To Success
11 global leaders, from CEO's to management gurus to company founders, are here to shut that fear down, before it can ever reach your desk and prove that survey wrong: they value HR leaders and the company culture work that comes from their efforts. These highly successful leaders know that company culture is the root of their company's massive successes, and they have gone on the record expressing that very sentiment.
You can't bring the head of Facebook or Zappos into your next performance review as advocates for all the work that you do (even though it would be so gratifying to say, "I hear your point, boss, but I think my friend, Mark Zuckerberg, has a few thoughts on why that team training is worth the money..." right?). However, you can read their words here and find encouragement, and maybe even quote them the next time your work's impact comes into question.
What you do is important. So important, in fact, that some of today's most prolific leaders put people-focused work - just like what you do - above everything else.
11 Company Culture Quotes From Successful Business Leaders Affirming That What You Do Is Critically Important
1. "Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first."
-Simon Senek, Author & TED Speaker, "Start With Why"
2. "We try to have the kind of a culture that doesn’t value excuses in the sense that when you’re supposed to accomplish something, and you’re at a high level, then your job is to accomplish it, in spite of difficulty. And you’re rewarded for dealing with that.” -Phil Libin, Co-Founder & former CEO, Evernote
3. "Engaging the hearts, minds, and hands of talent is the most sustainable source of competitive advantage."
-Greg Harris, President & CEO, Quantum Workplace
4. "The only thing we have is one another. The only competitive advantage we have is the culture and values of the company. Anyone can open up a coffee store. We have no technology, we have no patent. All we have is the relationship around the values of the company and what we bring to the customer every day. And we all have to own it.”
-Howard Schultz, CEO, Starbucks
5. "I think as a company, if you can get those two things right — having a clear direction on what you are trying to do and bringing in great people who can execute on the stuff — then you can do pretty well.”
-Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook
6. "If you are lucky enough to be someone’s employer, then you have a moral obligation to make sure people do look forward to coming to work in the morning.”
-John Mackey, CEO, Whole Foods Market
7. “Determine what behaviors and beliefs you value as a company, and have everyone live true to them. These behaviors and beliefs should be so essential to your core, that you don’t even think of it as culture.”
-Brittany Forsyth, VP of Human Relations, Shopify
8. "Our belief is that if you get the culture right, most of the other stuff, like great customer service or building a great long-term brand, or empowering passionate employees and customers will happen on its own."
-Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos
9. "'Restore connection' is not just for devices, it is for people too. If we cannot disconnect, we cannot lead. Creating the culture of burnout is opposite to creating a culture of sustainable creativity. This is something that needs to be taught in business schools. This mentality needs to be introduced as a leadership and performance-enhancing tool.”
-Arianna Huffington, Founder of The Huffington Post, Founder & CEO of Thrive Global
10. "In our early years, we didn’t talk about culture much. We hadn’t documented it all. We just built a business that we wanted to work in. And, that was great. But the real return on culture happened when we started getting more deliberate about it. By writing it down. By debating it. By taking it apart, polishing the pieces and putting it back together. Iterating. Again. And again.”
-Dharmesh Shah, Co-founder, Hubspot
11. "Culture eats strategy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner."
-Peter Drucker, Management Guru
Learn more about the direct connection of culture to success, especially in a down market, from XSInc CEO, Fulton Breen here.