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Basic Business Cents: Job description for vice president of culture

- A.K.A. Director of Hu-man Resources for large organizations

- A.K.A. Personnel Manager for medium organizations

- .K.A. Owner for small organizations

The typical job description for the office of personnel management reads something like, maintains the organization’s human resources by planning and evaluating employee performance systems. Not very exciting so far but it goes on to include:

- Maintains the work structure by developing job descriptions

- Counseling managers on candidate selection

- Maintains employee benefits

- Ensures legal compliance

- Manages the system of employee reviews

People work to get a feeling of satisfaction of performing worthwhile activities and the above descriptions do not appear very rewarding. Perhaps the most satisfying feelings of accomplishments typically come from short term pro-jects handed down from the CEO.

Employee annual re-views tend to be a downer in most organizations. Employees are filled with apprehension as the review can impact their chances of salary increase or promotion. Managers detest it more; it is not enjoyable to point out people’s shortcomings. It normally takes 10 positive comments to balance one negative.

What should have been done is to provide feedback in real time so both parties know why and how to improve.

That’s the old school description; now let’s look at the role of the future.

A client once said, "Culture eats strategy for lunch every day." Every organization has it’s own unique culture. If it is aligned with leadership, the aim of the organization and the strategy to reach it, the organization can move mountains.

On the other hand, if culture is not in sync with the aim, not much will happen. So, developing, nurturing, and expanding this positive culture is one of the most important roles in the organization. The new job description has three major components.

Coordinate Staffing

Working with the managers, determine needs for new or replacement talent. As work processes are im-proved, the amount and kind of talent changes. If someone no longer fits in the position, termination is the last straw. The organization placed them in that position, has an investment in them, and has an obligation to find them a position that fits their skills, either within or outside of the organization. Hiring and finding a new position should always be a win-win scenario. Encourage two-way feedback between the manager and employee in real time in a spirit of improving the work. Assure legal compliance with federal and state requirements.

Achieve Alignment of All Employees with the Aim of the Organization

True unity cannot be forced. People need to understand the reason for achieving the aim, what it means for them, the customers, the organization, and the community. Communication has two equal halves, sending and receiving. People need to understand why and true dialogue must take place in communication.

Responsible for the Pride and Work Satisfaction of the Workforce

People need to have a sense of accomplishment with their work. They need to achieve happiness in what they are doing, know that their work is important, that they are performing well, and are a part of a proud, dynamic team. The Marines call it esprit de corps, a feeling of pride, fellowship, and common loyalty shared by members of a particular group.

The leader of culture may be the second most important position in the organization. Culture and leadership are the two most important drivers of the success. CEOs of American corporations have tended to come from the finance department; in Japan from engineering. Could it be that the path to the top in the future is through culture management?

Louis Schultz, managing director of Process Management LLC, has assisted organizations worldwide with performance improvement. He currently works with area business owners as a SCORE counselor. E-mail him with questions or comments at