3 Ways Human Resources Can Support Sustainable Business Growth

“The organization will never be what the people are not.”

Price Pritchett, “The Ethics of Excellence”

Every company wants to achieve sustainable growth. Human Resources and workforce planning play a crucial role in influencing growth and retention. One key HR function is making sure the right people have been hired and will stay with the organization for the long-term.

3 ways HR can support sustainable growth:

  • Hire to values and invest
  • Promote from within
  • Create a long-term leadership solution

Hire to values and invest

Hiring to values is not a new concept in HR, but it’s worth mentioning over and over again – especially in regards to creating sustainable growth and succession plans. Whether your top values are innovation, compassion, or being team-spirited, the people you hire should fit those values in order to increase retention rates and build them up to become potential leaders within your organization.

People, like companies, are dynamic. So, naturally, as your company grows, so will your employees. Once you’ve hired new talent, invest in their professional development. Maybe you have seen this HR joke being passed around the Internet recently, “The CFO asked: ‘What if we invest in our people and they leave?’ to which the CEO responded: ‘What if we don’t and they stay?’” Investing in your employees and preparing them to become potential leaders is always worthwhile. And if the value-match is there from the beginning, the people you hired will become your best candidates for future leadership opportunities within the organization.

Promote from within.

When leadership positions open up within an organization, companies must always answer the question: do we promote from within or bring someone in from the outside?

Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great”, studied the performance of 1,435 companies and their CEOs over 40 years. In his study, 11 of the CEOs achieved greatness. Interestingly, 10 of the 11 good-to-great CEOs came from inside the company. He writes, “Larger-than-life, celebrity leaders who ride in from the outside are negatively correlated with going from good to great.” (p. 40).

If you’ve hired the right people and invested in their professional development, then the next CEO or Executive could just be down the hall.

Creating a long-term leadership solution.

In addition to hiring to values and promoting from within, creating a long-term leadership solution is another essential way HR can support sustainable growth in a company. At Cancer Treatment Centers of America®, for example, one of our long-term leadership solutions is our Management Fellowship Program, which was established in 1998 and has been tremendously successful with 72% of the graduates of the program currently holding leadership positions within our organization. A long-term leadership solution ensures that there is a “talent pipeline” bringing valuable employees to your organization.

A long-term leadership program should:

  • Bring young professionals into the company
  • Measure their future leadership potential
  • Provide them with an intensive business orientation
  • Offer them a long-term career path
  • Ensure the company will have leaders for future growth, and
  • Foster the entrepreneurial spirit

This can be achieved by creating a recruitment strategy that goes beyond traditional recruitment efforts. One of the best places to start is at the university level. For example, develop a framework to sustain a year-long presence on targeted college/university campuses, in addition to traditional on-campus recruitment efforts.

Your long-term leadership program should also:

  • Offer mentoring opportunities for underclassmen
  • Position your company as an Industry Thought-Leader

HR can support sustainable growth by hiring to values and investing in professional development, promoting from within, and creating a long-term leadership solution. Remember, your employees define your organization. In order to sustain growth and be the leader in your field, your employees need to grow professionally and be leaders in theirs.

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Eric Magnussen

Eric Magnussen serves as the Vice President of Talent for Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) and is accountable for all aspects of the CTCA Talent function for a 5,500 employee organization. Eric is responsible for talent strategy, attraction and selection, employee development, succession planning, wellness and wellbeing, compensation and benefits. Connect with Eric.

Reader Interactions


  1. Tom McMonagle says

    Direct and to-the-point article giving real solutions to real issues facing all companies in today’s competitive market. Thank you!


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