Where can I find information about staffing best practices?
August 13, 2012 4:21 AM   Subscribe

Where can I find information on how the best companies in the world deal with their staff? (eg, Fortune's Best Companies to Work For)?

I am currently trying to do research on (and learn about) staffing best practices in top companies (McDonald's, Starbucks, Nike, retail companies like Gap, Apple, etc). This includes anything, from recruiting, training, to ways to motivate staff, compensation, etc.

It is proving harder than I thought; all my searches yield are irrelevant articles (that usually try to advertise a website’s services) and nothing of substance comes up. What little I can find is usually dispersed and anecdotal.

Some books I've recently purchased give a lot of advice (in "Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work": incentives don’t work, it’s about culture), but it's always very general. What I would like to see is examples of the advice actually being implemented in practice. I know Tony Hsieh’s "Delivering Happiness" outlines Zappo’s hiring practices and work culture… but is there anything else?

I realize that many companies keep their internal hiring process secret, but surely there must be something out there?

Does anyone know of an authoritative source (textbook, books, article, website) that compiles these? I would prefer something with concrete examples.

I know this probably falls into the domain of human resources. In that case, a HR textbook would also be welcome... I mean, they must learn somewhere right? Or do most people just "wing it"?

Thank you for your help!
posted by Struan to Education (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
No large company can afford to wing it, or they risk losing talent.

There is a whole branch of HR devoted to the science (or art!) of leadership and employee engagement and talent management and the larger the company the more specific things get in terms of specialists in leadership, organisational design etc. Comp and bens is typically a separate but related branch of HR spanning more basic stuff like making sure the payroll works to more strategic stuff around optimal points of pay v performance. While there is reams of industry-generic research and management guidebooks on the various elements of how to find and retain the best talent the nitty gritty it is industry specific though - what my expectations as a banker or a doctor in Germany are will be entirely different from your expectations as a software engineer in California.

One place to look is AON's 2012 report on trends in global employee engagement as a guide to what is going on now.

For useful primers I'd recommend the Harvard Business Review and specifically their books on managing people and leadership.
posted by MuffinMan at 4:44 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I highly suggest browsing Bloomberg Businessweek. I've read a number of articles on this topic in the past.
posted by xicana63 at 5:37 AM on August 13, 2012

SHRM (the Society for Human Resource Management) looks to have a lot of resources, from toolkits/templates to surveys and trend reports. You have to be a member to look at most stuff, but I think you can buy a one day pass. Our HR people all have SHRM memberships and I think they use it pretty extensively.
posted by AgentRocket at 7:36 AM on August 13, 2012

Practices and expectations will vary from industry to industry, as MuffinMan says.

As previously stated, SHRM is an excellent resource, but you do have to be a member to have access to that information.

I recommend contacting and interviewing HR personnel for different companies that interest you.
posted by Giggilituffin at 8:41 AM on August 13, 2012

When you say 'best companies,' are you asking most profitable? Best to work for? Something else?
posted by tulip-socks at 12:12 PM on August 13, 2012

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