July 2022 AG Blog
All organizations strive to be results-driven. In the end, results are what the client wants to see and what attracts new clients, and therefore what ultimately grows the business. At AvantGarde, we believe strong results are driven by building a strong culture. And building a strong culture is not an occasional effort. It is an inclusive, evolving mission to ensure everyone feels empowered to fulfil their role and contribute to the company’s success, feels seen and heard as individuals (not just employees), and feels inspired to do their personal best.
This is why AvantGarde is a leader in the Human Capital business. Not only does our core work revolve around solving human capital challenges and issues, we excel at it by making it our focus both for clients and our own company culture. It’s the reason AvantGarde draws 80% of its business from return clients and referrals. We are proven experts in solving problems and have earned a reputation among our clients as a trusted advisor for all things People. Furthermore, our clients see that we ourselves are people-centric, that we love our employees and deploy only top tier talent.
Rebecca Contreras, CEO of AvantGarde, was recently interviewed by Texas CEO Magazine and touched on this subject. When asked what the top mistake is that organizations make in the area of human capital, she responded: “Losing the pulse on their people, especially in the middle of massive changes… As an employer, you need to get into people’s world and understand who they are. The people are what makes you or breaks you. I see a lot of organizations miss the people side for the sake of the bottom line. At AvantGarde, my people are the bottom line.”
And what does AvantGarde leadership believe creates a culture where people feel that they are the bottom line?
Authenticity – living values through action and modeling results-oriented behaviors.
Trust – in your people, in their contributions, in their goals.
Appreciation – through words, actions, performance evaluations, and compensation.
However, creating a culture of results requires not only building on these positive ideals, but also being communicative and open to feedback with the aim to discover areas of inauthenticity, under appreciation, and lack of trust. It is a constant loop of self and team improvement, where transparency and accountability are encouraged.
Another important component, notes Rebecca, is in finding the right people in the first place. Recruitment – one of AvantGarde’s core capabilities in HR services – means finding not only the right people to fit the role, but people who can grow the role with their drive and vision.
“I also interview for heart,” Rebecca said in her interview. “My philosophy is that you can train someone in a skill, but you can’t change heart. Often you have someone very qualified, but they are a train wreck with people or don’t have a firm value system. Then the organization suffers. So we have built a process to gauge what I call the ‘total individual’ and what they will contribute to AvantGarde. I want to know: What are they passionate about? What is important to them as they become a part of a new organization? How are they going to treat employees? If they are a supervisor, what management style do they lean into? Interviewing for heart is very different from checking boxes on a resume.”
For our clients seeking human capital support and guidance, as well as for our own AvantGarde team, we believe culture is key. Continually working to build a strong culture is what drives results – results that benefit the client, the company, and the individuals.
Read Rebecca’s full interview with Texas CEO Magazine here.