Knowledge of what constitutes best practice in human resource management (HRM) in public-oriented services is limited and the operational aspects of managing health workers at provision level have been poorly studied. The magnet hospital concept offers some insights into HRM practices that are leading to high commitment. These have been shown to lead to superior performance in not only industrial business firms, but also service industries and the public service. The mechanisms that drive these practices include positive psychological links between managers and staff, organizational commitment and trust. Conditions for successful high commitment management (HiCoM) include health service managers with a strong vision and able to transmit this vision to their staff, appropriate decision spaces for healthcare managers and a pool of reasonable well-trained health workers. For this, adequate remuneration is the first condition. Equally important are the issues of cultural fit and of 'commitment'. What would staff expect from management in return for their commitment to the organization? Salary buys indeed time of employees, but other practices ensure their commitment. Only if these drivers are understood will managers be able to make their HRM practices more responsive to the needs and expectations of the health workers.