Liz Ryan has a terrific post at Business Week about the 10 things every HR executive should be doing. According to Ryan, these 10 actions all help the HR chief achieve his or her ultimate goal: "It’s every HR chief’s highest calling to make sure his or her employer has the most excited, switched-on, and capable people on the market."
Ryan's whole list is excellent, but I especially liked her final two points:
9. Asking your team members every day for their input on your business, their own careers, and life in general—not via a sterile, once-a-year “employee engagement survey.”
10. Replacing fear with trust at every opportunity, in policies, training sessions, management practices, and via every conversation in the place.
These two points cannot be reinforced enough. Asking for input on a regular basis will accomplish so much more than any annual survey could ever achieve. Fostering trust will do the same. If people have been asked for input, and if they trust senior leadership, they will commit wholeheartedly to the organization and go above and beyond the basic duties of their position.