Published Online: January 2, 2008

What High-Performing Organizations Can Teach Us

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High-performing organizations recognize that great employees are essential to their success.

Thus, they have dependable systems to attract, develop, and retain productive employees. Those systems ensure employee satisfaction by creating a collegial work environment, recognizing performance, and providing career opportunities, quality managers, and decent compensation.

In “best practice” organizations in the corporate sector, employees understand how they can advance and are regularly evaluated and given frank feedback about performance to support their growth. High-potential employees are identified early and given “stretch” assignments with support. Middle managers are evaluated based in part on their ability to hire, develop, and keep excellent employees.

Urban school districts’ human-resource practices offer a stark contrast to such best-practice firms, as shown in the Aspen Institute's Framework for Human Capital Management in K-12 Education.

A typical new teacher receives minimal support and feedback, has little sense of his or her career trajectory or how to advance, and gets no monetary or nonmonetary recognition of a job well done. Few principals are trained or skilled in hiring and developing great teachers. While human-resource practices from other sectors are not all applicable to education, there must be something our sector can learn from organizations that take people management seriously.

Vol. 27

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