The Best HR Practices to Attract Social Butterflies

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Among the Google employees surveyed for the 2017 Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For List, 97% said they have special and unique benefits. The survey asks employees about their overall job satisfaction, office camaraderie, and their employer’s internal communications, training, recognition, and other HR systems and practices. The 100 companies who made the list (Google was #1 in 2017, for the eighth time in 11 years) have clearly made a significant investment in what academics call high performance work systems (HPWS). The results of a new study co-authored by CEIBS Professor of Management Tae-Yeol Kim show that the investment is worthwhile, as these practices are a useful tool for talent recruitment.

“Prospective employees can assess the attractiveness of companies according to their overall HR practices,” said Prof. Kim. “Thus, HPWS is an important facet for employers to communicate their identities and values to job applicants and helps them attract high-potential job applicants.”

The findings of Prof. Kim’s study also show that job applicants who prefer working in an environment where employees are encouraged to communicate and socialize with colleagues will find companies with HPWS more attractive. Therefore, companies would do well to highlight their HPWS programmes when recruiting talents for jobs like sales that require highly social candidates. If companies believe that employees with low social interests are a better fit with their culture, then HPWS may not be an effective tool for recruitment.

For their study, the researchers conducted a scenario-based experiment with 206 university students in the United States who participated as part of an in-class assignment. The participants were asked to imagine they were meeting with an HR manager of a company in a job fair, who was describing the companies’ HR practices and organizational culture. The participants were shown various scenarios that showed a company that was either HPWS or non-HPWS, and had either an innovative or bureaucratic culture. The participants were asked questions that accessed their own vocational interests and which type of company they preferred. 

The results showed that participants were more attracted overall to the organization with a high performance work system, and that the more social applicants were most attracted to the HPWS company.

The study is titled “High Performance Work Systems and Organizational Attraction: The Moderating Effects of Vocational Interests”, and it has been published in the journal Employee Relations. Prof. Kim’s co-authors are Hwanwoo Lee (CEIBS) and Steve Werner (University of Houston).

Read the paper here.

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