Jack Bakersfield runs a small newspaper in a small town. He began his career with a college degree in journalism and short-term internships at local newspapers. After devoting himself to his writing full-time, he spent many years honing his craft and earning a steady living. He now acts as the publisher—the man-in-charge—of his own newspaper.
Jack’s passion for writing, he believes, has made his day-to-day life dramatically easier over the years. He had always feared spending too much time working dead-end jobs, or ever feeling trapped in a job he genuinely disliked. “Follow your passion,” his parents told him as a child. “Do what you’re good at, and do it well.”
He always carried that advice, despite the years that went by. It had a positive effect on him, helping him to develop and sustain a career he genuinely liked for many years. He remembered the dead-end jobs he used to work and all the people in his life that did as well, and realized that his self-made success was not the illusion he once made it out to be.
A person can become very good at almost any job with the right experience, training, and time; but if they don’t truly enjoy their job, the passion just isn’t there. Jack never wanted to work that way, and because he honed his natural talents from an early age, he never had to.
Jack decided that, as chief executive of his newspaper, he wanted to see that same passion in each and every employee working for him. He did not want to create an environment that his workers dreaded walking into every day; he wanted the enthusiasm and natural energy of people who truly enjoy their jobs, just as he did for so many years.
Jack’s primary editor, Steven, was born and raised in a small town. He was considered an ideal candidate for the job due not only because of his editing experience, but also due to his intimate familiarity with the local industry. He had the right frame-of-mind, instinctively knowing which articles were more suitable than others for their audience. Jack chose him because he believed Steven would be most productive in this particular environment—not just because of his skill as an editor.
Those who write for his newspaper were also hand-picked for their passion, enthusiasm, and work ethic above all else. Jack was far more attracted to writers with such qualities than those who could simply report the news. He wanted to see natural creativity come from his writers the way it had come from him; the creativity that could only come from writers who truly love to write.
Jack never bought into the notion that dissatisfied workers were more productive than satisfied workers; he preferred to see work and pleasure intertwined rather than divided by the time of day, in contrast to what he believed to be the case for many average working people. He filled his newspaper with driven, optimistic, intrinsically-motivated employees in order to maintain the positive energy they brought.
Looking at Jack’s small business, you can see an effective employee team. They have the same drive, the same motivations, the same goals, a common working culture. For Jack, it was worth all the tireless effort to find and hire people who can make such a positive difference in the company. Those who manage human resources—CEOs, CHROs, HR Directors, HR Managers, and regular old managers and supervisors—have nothing more to work with than the capabilities of their teams.
An employee’s natural enthusiasm and talent for their job propels them to constantly improve and raises the bar higher, all the while enjoying the process of regular, hard work. While an unsatisfied employee can often meet expectations, they can’t excel to the degree that happy, effective employee teams can. That’s what differentiates HR management from HR excellence.