HR to the Core
of the joys in life is eating a juicy and delicious Red
Delicious apple. Most of us, while enjoying this tasty morsel,
end up discarding the core. We dont use it in creating our
favorite dishes such as apple pie, cobbler or applesauce. Yet
without the core to provide the basics for survival of the
apple on the tree, there would be no fruit. In case you
havent guessed, this is an article about the "core" of how we
practice our profession as public administrators.
public agencies as well as in private business, a great way to
create the foundation for success is to use an internal
communication process to create organizational "core values."
The core values define the kind of professional practice staff
members commit to and that the organization requires for
Every Human Resources Department,
and indeed the entire organization, can benefit greatly by
identifying its set of core values and by committing to live
by them. As individuals, it wouldnt be a bad idea to
carefully examine our own core values as well and to reconnect
with the principles which are really important in our fleeting
Here are the HR core values
created for the City of Miramar, Fla.s HR
Department Core Values
Respect for and caring about
clients, colleagues and ourselves.
Strong stewardship of the
taxpayers money and property.
Continuous improvement and
innovation in business practices.
Helping ourselves and others
achieve professional learning and personal
Being a champion and positive
ambassador for the city and the organization.
Not walking by something
Seeking out challenges and
being accountable for results.
Maintaining high standards of
ethical and job-related conduct and decision
core values serve the organization in many ways beyond just an
impressive set of concepts. These values form the basis for
performance management and goal identification. They can be
folded into individual as well as organizational performance
example, one of the core values above involves a continuous
process of innovation that can lead directly and smoothly into
how a manager will coach, evaluate and help develop
subordinates. Questions such as, "This past year, what steps
have you taken to improve the way we do business for the
stakeholders and for co-workers?"
core values become a code of conduct and a basis for praise
and rewards or corrective action and, if necessary,
the military and in paramilitary organizations like Sheriffs
Departments and Police Departments, a regular feature for
discipline includes the charge of "conduct unbecoming a member
of the organization." Any such charge in an organization with
established core values can easily be anchored back to one of
those values, such as the one described above involving
ethical and job-related treatment, respect and
the organization as a whole, measurement in terms of client
surveys can also be anchored back to the core values. In
effect, these values say, "This is how we will be doing
business." Client surveys and evaluations can be asked the
simple question, "How did we do in relation to our value
commitments?" "Are we doing what we say we are going to
Creating a set of core values is
not very difficult, but it must be done in a way which makes
the act of creation itself a positive experience for the
staff. An organizations core values are not established in a
private office by the agency director, the city or county
manager or even the elected officials. The best model involves
using a focus group, perhaps facilitated by an outside
experienced person, so that the staff members themselves end
up identifying the characteristics of the ideal agency in
which they would like to work.
many ideas and comments are then synthesized by the
facilitator or by the agency head. The final list is then
shared back with staff members as a draft for another
opportunity to comment, suggest modifications and offer
commitments of support.
final project then can be laid out in a format where every
staff member (i.e., the same people who had a key role in the
identification of the values to begin with) sign a statement
of commitment or sign a poster size version of the core values
which can then be framed and displayed prominently as a
core of my morning apple is the basis of how the fruit becomes
delicious. The core values of an organization define and mark
the agencys appreciation of a progressive and ethical way of
the HR Doctors experience, occasional attendance at mandatory
seminars or lectures on process improvement, quality assurance
or performance based-anything will not be anywhere near as
Mission statements, vision
statements and core values represent three powerful tools
formulated out of the same participatory process described.
These three statements of who we are and how we want to be
known in our profession is the key to making performance
measurements and performance innovation possible.
Next time you eat an apple, save
the core and keep it on your desk so that anyone who asks why
its there can immediately be directed over to the wall with
the poster which answers the question.
at the core of positive change ... eat an