Career, how to learn, Leadership, personal, Reflective practice, Slow Thinking, Thinking differently

Sit down & chill the hell out (AKA why you should be meditating)

There’s 10,000 reasons to chill the hell out (AKA meditate), but I’m going to lead with what I see as the most topical for right now.

Relaxation.

When was the last time you actually relaxed? Not when was the last time you took a break, or got a workout in, but when did you last relax?

“Relaxation isn’t a luxury. In the world we live in, it’s a necessity. The everyday tension and stress that accompanies life in the 21st century can be debilitating to our mental and physical health. We need something deeper than an occasional treat. We need something that will get to the root of the problem.” – Yael Shy

Do you ever pause? From work, home, doom-scrolling on social media. When do you take time out to just be? 2020 was a year of big learning for me, one of the biggest being that doing the same old thing to de-stress just didn’t seem to work any longer. I’ve got a list (surprise surprise) of things that I need to do when I feel myself getting run down:

  1. Say no to more – works every time
  2. Eat better – works every time
  3. Exercise (for someone who genuinely hated PE at school this one took a long time to get on board with) – much to my disappointment at the work required, works every time
  4. Meditate…

During 2020 I got the list out. I hit everything on there every day, but the shitstorm that was last year just kept coming. On top of the list of things we all had in common, the border restrictions meant that I couldn’t get home to see my family in New Zealand while some pretty major things were happening. Honestly, it was pretty hard.

So I was doing the list.

I’ve been ‘meditating’ on and off for the past 15 years – every health professional, every popular speaker seems to espouse the same advice. Meditation is good for you. And I felt like I was doing it. I had all the apps and ticked every box, but it just didn’t really work for me. I figured it was a slow burn – “they” say that even if you feel like it’s not working, you should stick with it. So I did, to no avail.

Towards the end of 2020 though, something changed, I tried a variety of types of meditation (I know, seems obvious in retrospect) – but low and behold I’ve gotten results.The things I did differently:

  • I set up a space for meditation. This doesn’t need to be 100% dedicated, but I have an old wooden chest I bought secondhand that sits in the corner of our bedroom – it’s decorated with things that make me happy, beautiful candles and incense, a picture from my little boy. It’s a warm spot where I want to spend time – and because I see it every day, I’m being constantly reminded to take 5 minutes.
  • I prioritised myself and didn’t let ‘getting busy’ get in the way of taking some time. There are always jobs to be done – at work and around the house. But you can’t do any of that well if your energy is always depleted. Meditation is one way I can refill my energy reserves.
  • I tried different forms of meditation. That one about the cars or clouds passing me where I’m meant to observe them? That does nothing for me. I’ve been focusing on objects, sound baths, guided meditations from different meditation practitioners. Just because one form of meditation doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t mean others won’t.
  • I listened to podcasts/read books about meditation, the science and different approaches. I like to know why something is working – the most impactful thing I’ve learned? Meditation works differently for everybody, so if you’ve tried and failed – maybe try approaching it differently.

The best resources I’ve found:

  • Podcasts, obviously. Current favs are 10 Percent Happier (Dan Harris) and Wake me Up (Tyler Brown).
  • Apps – Insight Timer is my favorite. There’s a paid version, but the free version has a huge variety of content. This one is fabulous. Spotify is another gem, you can find beautiful soothing music or nature sounds to help you get in the zone.
  • The internet is gold here. There’s a host of resources out there, for a basic introduction on the types of meditation out there, start here https://www.headspace.com/meditation/techniques

You might have sat down & chilled out/meditated before and gotten out of practice – or it might be something you’ve never tried before. I wholeheartedly encourage you to take 10 minutes today for yourself, no matter how well, or terribly your day is going.

Difficult Conversations, Leadership, personal, Thinking differently

It’s OK to not be OK right now

Today I felt really sad.

I’m normally fairly positive in my interactions with people, I’m incredibly fortunate in that I love what I do and I get to spend my days working with people who are absolutely brilliant and incredibly passionate about why they do it. This kind of energy is infectious.

My happy place – coincidently it’s also Vito’s happy place. As long as I’m stuck-throwing 100% of the time we’re there

But ups and downs are normal, especially when you’re living through a f***ing pandemic – there’s no one that’s escaped the impact in some way. I count myself fortunate to live in Victoria Australia – the site of one of the stricter lockdowns, but it meant that for more than the past month, there have been no COVID19 infections in my state.

Something I’ve noticed in my friends, family and colleagues is the way they’ve handled themselves during this insanely difficult time and their ability to get on with it. Lost jobs, supporting others, sickness, death, increased workloads, working while also doing childcare… no one has escaped unscathed.

But we’re people, we can be incredibly resilient, but life’s challenges still impact us.

I’ve got friends who have felt like they’ve failed in some way because they’ve found this hard. They’ve found it hard to cope with the unique combination of circumstances that they’ve been dealt with. They’ve felt guilty because they perceive they’ve “got it better” than someone else. Because they’re seeing others put on a front, keep their ‘work face’ on, an Instagram account that’s full of thanks and joy, carefully curated to give the impression of a perfect and resilient life.

I’ve felt this way – I felt this way today.

Some of the moments that I’ve found to be most impactful over the past year have been when I’ve seen leaders, I respect share the struggles they’ve had. It’s not been easy! And letting people know you have bad days (or weeks, or months) is important. It shatters the illusion that some people have magically got it all together.

You don’t need to be afraid upsetting someone by sharing where you’re at. Real leadership is supporting others where they are. Acknowledging privilege is important – but no one has a monopoly on suffering and pain, uncertainty and anxiety and grief.

So you know what? Today was tough. I cried and then later I put on a face when I was at work (AKA on Zoom).

But that’s ok, it’s normal to find these times tough. Make sure you reach out for help if you need – I’m here, as are many that love you. If you need help, no matter which country you live in, you can find resources here.

You are loved. You are enough. And I promise it’s ok, no one around you really has their shit together either.

Book review, Career, HR for non-HR people, Human Resources, Leadership, SHRM, Thinking differently, Working in People & Culture

HR Rising!! – the book you need

Book review: HR Rising!! by Steve Browne

More and more, we are recognising that HR is a global community that can be a force for change – change that means people’s work is more rewarding, that we can help people be effective and successful at what they do, and that organisations – be they public, private or nonprofit – can benefit from happier, more engaged workforces.

The global coronavirus pandemic adds another layer entirely to this. What’s the most important thing you would look for when looking for your next role? (Other than a paycheck of course – thanks ‘rona for the recession…) It’s an organisation that puts its people first, that has shown they do that through challenging circumstances. They are the orgs we all want to be a part of, the ones that walk the talk, they have great leaders and that translates into their employees feeling valued, respected and engaged.

I’ll let you in on a secret – none of that happens without great HR. Not good HR – good HR is a team that doesn’t screw up your pay, your benefits. Great HR (or as they’re more commonly known here in Australia – People & Culture) are about creating workplaces where good leadership is rewarded, people are trusted to do their best and given the tools to do so. They’re not obsessed with the dress code, or clocking in on the dot of 8am – they contribute to the creation of a culture where outcomes are what matters, and you’re more than an employee – you’re a person!

If this is the type of HR you want to practice, or encourage in your organisation, you need to know Steve. He has a talent for breaking down complex issues into an easy to read, enjoyable format, he tackles leaders with no substance, HR’s penchant for vagueness, the need for “messy and wonderful” at work while dismissing a whole bunch of unhelpful stereotypes.

Leadership is much more than the proverbial seat at the table, and Steve manages to deliver a message as relevant for senior leadership as it is for someone just starting out in their HR Career. He advocates that working in HR should not be an exercise in mediocrity or a burden (and if it is, he tells you to get out!) – but a profession you should be proud of, and find a real sense of joy in working in. Steve’s book is a vital ingredient to finding the joy you’re missing in HR.

On a personal note, Steve is someone I look up to, as a multiplier, someone whose passion is to make things better for others. It’s not just his penchant for the exclamation mark that I adore – although obviously we’re kindred spirits here, he is the kind of person that inspires you to do better, to be better, and I think we all need a little bit of that right now.

HR Rising!!’ is an absolute must-read – and not just because I’m quoted inside the front cover! Go get yourself a copy now!!

Leadership, personal

The whole world turned upside down: brain cancer & awesome workplaces

In June this year my life took an unexpected turn. I had my parents (John & Jenny) visit from New Zealand, they said it was to visit Sam and I (but I knew the truth, my 2-year-old was the main attraction).

After an action-packed week of Aquarium and Zoo visits, and tramming their way all over Melbourne they were ready to go home.

One day before they were due to leave, Mum and I took John, my wonderful, kind, generous Stepdad, to the hospital after some headaches and confusion.

The outcome of that long ED visit was a Stage 4 GBM (brain cancer), brain surgery, chemo and radiation. Their short stay, arranged during school holidays, was then extended indefinitely as we fought this. They ended up staying with us an additional 9 weeks.

I cannot help but look at the past couple of months and see some of the best lessons of my life playing out.

The biggest part of that lesson for me was a personal one. Despite his diagnosis, despite the uncertainty and surgery and tears from us all, John has been unashamedly positive.

* Positive because of the incredible care he received at the Royal Melbourne.

* Positive because of the doctors, nurses and staff who took the time to care for him.

* Positive because, despite the circumstances, we had unexpected bonus-time as a family together, with my brothers and sister visiting from NZ and America.

* Positive because of the outpouring of love from family, friends, colleagues, strangers, and ex-students of my parents who sent messages of aroha and support from near and far.

* Positive in continually repeating that he’s lucky, he’s got a great life, and wife(!) and wonderful kids, it could all be so much worse.

John manages to find good in everything, and everyone. (after you meet his Mum, Nana Jean, you know where this comes from). The one nurse who during his time in hospital was a little short, hungover and on her phone? He refused to complain, because “you don’t know what’s going on in someone’s life, she might be having a really hard time”. John is the definition of positivity and love. I’m so fortunate that he came into our lives when I was a kid.

The second biggest lesson was what I experienced, along with each member of my family during a really tough time. My parent’s employers (Devon Intermediate, and Frankley School in NZ) were both amazing. They made organising time off easy and they sent messages full of love and hope. They sent tins of tea and flowers and fruit. They contacted us and asked what would help and listened.

My work (bloom hearing specialists), and, in particular my direct manager, have been nothing but incredible. While I’ve been on the HR-end of many crises, that’s not the same of the overwhelming sense of thankfulness you get when your manager makes it clear that there’s nothing that matters more than being there with your family. When your colleagues forgive your absentmindedness and don’t mention your horrendous eyebags/unkempt hair after another sleepless night. When you are encouraged to do what is right for you and your family, knowing it really is OK.

This post is part thanks, and part encouragement. Encouragement to do what you know is right, and treat others with empathy and love. At the time you might not consider it something monumental, especially when you know someone is going through *big* things. But every message, every small gesture meant an incredible amount to us as we grappled with all we had to deal with during this time, and it won’t be forgotten.

* John & Jenny have now returned to New Zealand, leaving our two-bedroom house very quiet.

Difficult Conversations, Ethics, Leadership, Reflective practice, Thinking differently

Your Organisation is Drifting. And You’ve Got No Idea.

New year new you!

Or something similar.

It’s natural to strive for better. You look at the previous year, note your accomplishments (high engagement score ranking – tick!) and want to build on that momentum.

What you often don’t see when you’re constantly engaging with the people within your organisation that are high performers and those that are close to you, is the organisational drift happening under the surface. You’re focusing on big changes, becoming bigger and better than the year before, all the while not realising that something insidious is eating away at the fabric of your organisation.

People may have brought individual issues up before. Some big. Some not so much. Isolated they don’t look like a pattern. Because you’re surrounded with those who are super engaged and likely are very focused on their own areas of expertise they also don’t see the cumulative nature of what’s happening.

But I guarantee your employees do.

They notice the few instances of people ‘moving on’ under cloudy circumstances with unclear communications.

They notice the difference between decisions made by management and the values of your organisation.

They notice their friends and high performers choosing to opt out after having realised that this isn’t the place with the great culture/opportunity/leadership it once was.

They see people being appointed to roles who don’t care about their teams.

They see snarky emails/veiled threats being thrown about with no consequence.

Do they bring it to you?

Probably not.

They’ve probably already made their decision. They’re out. They’re still smiling and saying the right things when you ask them, but they’re scouring LinkedIn and job boards looking for their next opportunity. They’re responding honestly when someone asks what it’s like to work for you. They’re moving to your competitors.

All of a sudden it happens. You realise that you’re no longer ahead of the game. You ignored too many warning signs. Conveniently chose to listen to those who told you what you wanted to hear, not those who would challenge you and tell you what you needed to hear.

Many organisations go down this path. Some parts of it are beyond your control. Some are well within it.

So instead of thinking of the new year as one to build on the previous – maybe take some time to reflect, engage in continuous learning practices and ‘get under the hood’. You may not like what you find, but at least you have an opportunity to fix it if you do come across something.

AHRI, Australian HR, Career, Human Resources, Leadership

5 Key Takeaways From The AHRI Awards

AHRI get a lot of things right for me as an association – they work incredibly hard (every employee or volunteer I’ve met have confirmed this), they listen to their membership, and they lead with the genuinely good intent that our profession can be better and can create better work environments for others.

Last week I attended the AHRI Awards, a national event that I have never had the opportunity to go to before. It was fabulous. Not just because of the great MC (Peter Berner), performances & food – but for the great conversations and stories that were shared throughout the evening.

The “people profession”, as described by Lyn Goodear, came together to celebrate the hard work of both individuals and workplaces in bettering work for others.

Ok, ok, ok – without further ado, here are my 5 key takeaways from the event:

1. Individual awards are where it’s at

The first two acceptance speeches for the night really set the tone, both giving heartfelt thanks to their teams, mentors and managers who believed in them. It was a timely reminder that no matter how busy you are, how much you’ve got going on, the support you give those in your team will make an impact far bigger than you realise at the time.

There is amazing talent coming through in the field of HR and I’m excited about the impact and change that this will inevitably bring.

2. Diversity & inclusion is where all the cool work is happening

The HR Diversity Champion Award as a really big one for me. The Defense Force isn’t necessary an employer that I would have picked as a front runner in innovative HR practice (which I full well acknowledge may be my own denseness) but I was really impressed with Shane Cox’s work in providing career pathways for indigenous youth.

3. The numbers of people with AHRI certification are growing

I’m really enjoying the growing professionalisation of HR in Australia, largely due to the efforts of AHRI. Certification was a topic of conversation at the awards – which definitely prompted me to reflect on exactly when I will be getting my A into G on that one!

4. AHRI = genuine advocacy

A message I heard loud and clear – not just from AHRI (because what member association isn’t going to advocate this), but from volunteers, staff members, and from what efforts are recognised makes it clear, we are fortunate to have this be our professional association.

I heard multiple times from the winners in their acceptance speeches of the honour of their work being recognised by AHRI. What AHRI is doing is celebrating work that is changing the way others work, interact and experience their own work. Work that is genuinely changing peoples’ lives.

5. Conversations!

The AHRI Awards was a fabulous opportunity to get out and meet (and reconnect with) people who do great HR. Sometimes life can get busy and its easy to forget, or just not prioritise, meeting new people and listening to what makes them tick. I was lucky enough to sit next to someone who had also rejoined the workforce, and changed role, soon after becoming a parent for the first time. I got to hear about the fascinating experiences of someone who has moved into HR after a long career in energy. These conversations, among others, were a good reminder that its easy to get caught up in your own bubble and forget to take the time to learn from others.

I had such a brilliant night. Not just because of the organ (OMG THE ORGAN), the showtunes from Wicked, the Phantom, Les Mis & Jersey Boys, but because of the honour of being around people that are so brilliant at what they do that they inspire me to be better.

#SoMe, Career, Human Resources, Leadership, SHRM, Social Media & Learning, Working in People & Culture

The #HRTribe – they open doors like you wouldn’t believe!

Next month I’m on my way to the Illinois SHRM and Ohio SHRM Conferences to speak about HR in Australia & the lessons I’ve learned along the way. How this opportunity to speak outside Australia has come about is an excellent example of the collaborative nature of the international HR community (for which I am forever thankful).

A few years ago I had a brilliant conversation with a guy called Steve Browne. You might know him, he’s one of the Board Members at SHRM, he’s an all-round nice guy and he’s an active promoter of everything that’s good in HR. I’d been blogging a bit and was thinking about my professional development and what might be a good investment in my career and had decided that I’d like to apply to be a part of the SHRM Blogging team for 2016.

Well it all happened. And it changed my career and the way I think about HR exponentially.

While I’ve worked across different countries, was a member of SHRM and an avid reader of international HR & business blogs I was not at all prepared for the shift in my thinking that resulted from becoming a part of the SHRM community.

Since attending that first conference, not only have I been lucky enough to attend some phenomenal conferences and see some true thought leaders in the HR/management space (not lame, self-proclaimed ‘thought leaders’ that I think we’re ALL sick of), but I found my tribe (#HRTribeTM) AND became a part of an incredibly community that seeks to progress our profession and help us adapt to the new world of work as people-people aka HR professionals.

Two years after that first SHRM Conference I’ve now been a part of the Official SHRM Blogging team twice and this September I’m heading to the Illinois SHRM and Ohio SHRM Conferences to speak – what a roller-coaster!

The way HR is evolving internationally is so exciting because I believe it makes us confront what is unique and special about our profession, rather than resting on our laurals as the rule-makers and police. It’s forcing us to consider what those assumptions that may have been holding us back. Gone are the days (well… hopefully) where we are a primarily an administrative function. Having the opportunity to speak to people about what works well in different countries – and what doesn’t – is an incredible gift and one I’m looking forward to sharing an Australian perspective on this September. I’ve loved practising HR in Australia over the past 5 years and think that the quirks of employment law and common practice here definitely have some (interesting) lessons for those operating in different environments!

I owe a huge debt to Steve Brown, Dave Ryan, Andrew Morton, Mary Kaylor & the whole SHRM community (especially the bloggers!) for their generosity in time, guidance & mentoring over the past few years. I sincerely believe that as we further collaborate and learn more from each other we will only serve to further cement HR as a function that is seen as indispensable and valuable to organisations as we all believe it is.

 

#SHRM #SHRMBlogger #Speaker #HRTribe #Gday

AHRI, Human Resources, Leadership, SHRM, SHRM18, Working in People & Culture

Reflections on the Global HR Community #SHRM18

An interview with Lyn Goodear, AHRI CEO, on SHRM18 & the WFPMA Conference in Chicago, Illinois

lyn goodear

The global HR community is evolving, particularly as technology enables us to communicate and learn from our colleagues across borders. This year, the World Federation of People Management Associations (WFPMA), of which Peter Wilson has been the Chairperson & President of for the past two years, met in Chicago, coinciding with the US Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) National Conference.

The combination of both conferences meant an audience and exhibitors totalling over 22,000 – which is a fair amount larger than any professional body conference anything on my side of the equator.

I caught up with Lyn Goodear, the CEO and Managing Director of AHRI (the Australian HR Institute), during the conference, to discuss HR challenges globally, and the value of being able to collaborate with other HR practitioners and take time out for professional development.

Lyn emphasizes that “as a profession we share the same aspiration to create better work and better workplaces” and that one of the highlights of attending events like the WFPMA and SHRM Conferences is seeing how different professional bodies approach issues affecting their membership base.

Culture permeated as an overarching theme of the conference (attendees from recent AHRI Conferences will recognise some real similarities) – Lyn credits Adam Grant as being one of the speakers who articulated this well in his keynote describing the importance of not getting lost looking for cultural fit, rather, focusing on cultural contribution.

The Australian Human Resources Institute’s CEO has a refreshing take on how she applies this to her own work, describing how she asks herself each day “What are you doing to lift the culture in the way you behave? We don’t often connect our actions to culture. If you’re not doing something overtly to lift the culture then you may be leaving it stagnant or pulling it down.”.

Prior to her current role as CEO, Lyn was formerly the National Manager of Professional Development of AHRI, which gives a whole other level of credibility to her assessment of the value, and approach of professional development opportunities for HR professionals. Lyn’s description of careers as lattices, saying that it’s not always about aspiring continuously upwards in a ladder motion. That not everything is linear was echoed when Sheryl Sandberg delivered her keynote where she also emphasized the importance of not just trying to grow your career in a linear path – if you just try and joint the dots you may well miss out on the best opportunities.

The advantage of course of being able to attend state, national and international conferences (and interacting with other HR professionals via the great idea exchange of the web) is that you can see that while we have many differing challenges between countries, there are many that are similar as well. Lyn is animated when she talks about the excitement of connecting with others who are passionate about advancing the field of HR. Her take on real career growth and development often comes back to developing peer to peer relationships and upwardly challenging your networks.

Lyn leaves me with an excellent challenge, one I hope that many other HR professionals will also take up – we need to applaud our profession for the progress that we’ve made, but we need to challenge ourselves at the same time. We cannot blame business for being confused about the value that HR can add if we haven’t created that clarity.

 

Career, Human Resources, Leadership, Reflective practice, SHRM, SHRM18, Uncategorized

The Disruption of HR

Disruption doesn’t happen from the inside.

The founders of Invisalign weren’t dentists. Uber wasn’t created by Taxi drivers. Airbnb wasn’t created by hoteliers. And yet now they dominate their industries after completely upending them.

The digital disruption means that everyone’s specialty is at risk of being toppled by someone else. Someone that doesn’t know your business and industry as well as they did. But it turns out that’s an advantage. Because they’re not constrained by the same limitations you place on yourself.

I’m fascinated by speakers in the disruption of HR, of how we treat people within business.

Over the past month I’ve been soaking up some gems from a few people who are the very thought leaders (without making you sick with an over-used term) who I believe will take HR where it needs to go to deliver on what the world of work needs in the future.

The futurist

I am lucky enough to know the fantastic Alex Hagan – Alex is the founder & CEO of Kienco, a workforce strategy consultancy based in Melbourne who works all over the world and as well as being generally excellent at what he does, is a lovely human. We got talking about the future of HR the other day.

The discussion centred around the ‘old guard’ (AKA those who live for policies, procedures, control and to say ‘no’), and the opportunity and responsibility of nurturing those who see the real value-add: to provide strategic people counsel and guidance to help organisations flourish along with the people within them. The ones who will guide the HR profession into the future, when the ‘no’ crowd’s value is superseded by apps and automation.

The Dr of Change

I went to a fascinating breakfast learning session the other week (often an oxymoron) where Dr Josephine Palermo spoke on the cultural disruption an exceptionally large telecommunications company in Australia – Telstra – is facing as it expands over borders and moves into becoming a technology company – rooting it’s change in the customer experience. I know. Customer experience. It’s so overdone. But what got me excited about hearing Josephine speak was this was real.

The key takeaway for me? That we need to move away from ‘best practice’ – there’s no such thing when you’re looking at such new concepts and changes. What you should be aiming for is ‘emerging practice’ and knowing your business well enough to create a fail fast safe environment.

This really resonated with me – it speaks to the core of what HR needs to understand, live and breathe and then teach others to do. If we’re all about people – then we should be modelling great change, understanding the people in our organisation (and by extension, our customers), and helping the business deliver on what’s required to meet our goals.

The Social Movement

I’m so fortunate to be a part of the #SHRM18 blogging crew – but what’s cooler about this than me being stoked to be a part of it is the company I get to keep. HR is a social beast and to continually improve we need to surround ourselves with people that do it differently, people that do it better, and learn and adapt and share what we know to help make work better – because isn’t that what we all want?

To be a part of the social movement making HR better I’ve got some brilliant recommendations of where to go:

  • (self promotion alert) check out the phenomenal crew of #SHRM18 bloggers – they’re all on Twitter and there’s also some great individual blogs that you can follow. It’s easy to set up a feed rather than subscribe to them all if that’s your thing? Feedly is a great resource to get all your blog/article/website articles in an easy-to-read magazine style one stop shop.
  • Definitely get onto HR Open Source. They are freaking awesome. What could be better than a community of people just like you (if you are also fantastic) who want to make HR and work better for everyone? There’s a tonne of crowd-sourcing of HR challenges, sharing of resources and just a great sense of community.
  • Soak up some podcasts. On your way to work? You can totally learn while you’re doing that. Check out:
    • Drive Thru HR (so good – and heaps of content!) hosted by @MikeVanDervort it is seriously good stuff.
    • HR Happy Hour – hosted by some of the best in the business @SteveBoese & @TrishMcFarlane.
    • Impact Makers from @JenniferMcClure – this is a new one but Jennifer is AWESOME and you should definitely check it out.
    • We’re Only Human – HR is about people, and Ben (@BenEubanks) is a phenomenal interviewer who has one of the longest histories in HR/work podcasting out there. Highly recommend.
    • Business, Life & Coffee @joeyvpriceHR, the CEO of Jumpstart:HR is an excellent interviewer and really expands your horizons with some really interesting business leaders and a wide variety of experts.
    • Talking People & Tech from @DaveGass & Jared Cameron looking at the intersection of HR & Technology.

(There are so many more I could go on about – but often I find out about a really good one from listening to another – it does become a bit of an addiction).

  • Get into the HR Book Club – it’s not too late! From the HR-famous (yeah, that’s a thing) @LRuettimann herself. Laurie also has an excellent Vlog series that you can access on her website.

So what do we need to do? Keep asking questions, soak up all the knowledge you can, and as you’re figuring it out make sure you share so we can all learn from you too!

HR for non-HR people, Human Resources, Leadership, Thinking differently

What’s Your HR Problem? (Or is it just you…)

HR wants a remuneration review.

HR wants to improve employee engagement.

HR wants to create a better graduate program.

HR wants to review performance management policies…

Ugh.

My problem with all this?

If it’s only HR wanting it, you may as well not bother.

You’ve got two options in your organisation:

  1. Employ a HR team to manage your legal liability, administration, check pay rates and holidays are by the book, manage recruitment… etc. Or,
  2. Be the kind of leader that prioritises ensuring you cultivate a brilliant place to work that people love and then, employ a HR team to help you and your leadership team achieve that.

If the opening paragraph of this article resonated with you (and you inwardly groaned because it all sounds so bloody familiar) I’m challenging you to consider – what if it’s not the HR team who is getting it wrong? What if it’s you?

The HR function has two primary purposes in my mind:

  • Ensure that the company is meeting its legal obligations, policies, procedures. remuneration etc. This stuff is boring critical but is crucially important for a well-functioning business.
  • Providing the leadership team with the tools, knowledge and advice so they can actualise the workplace they want for their people. This could be the cultivation of a zany, fun, creative workplace. Or a results-driven one. Or a family atmosphere. But the most critical component for me is that they enable the leadership to fulfil their mission.

What often happens instead of the latter is that either, the HR team aren’t set up for success in terms of team/experience, or, the leadership team doesn’t know what work environment they want, or they don’t think the HR team can help deliver it.

How do you figure out what your problem is?

If this is resonating with you and you recognise something has to change, I’d recommend looking at:

Step 1. Consider, where does your HR team report into?

Rather than a blanket ‘you should have a CHRO’ statement – as clearly there isn’t a one-size-fits-all structure that you can pick up and drop in – I’d challenge you to consider what your HR team’s place in the structure says about your priorities.

– Does the HR Director report to the CFO? An operational executive? Safety? What does that say about how important your people strategy is to your business?

– Do you have an HR Manager who is focused on the detail? Or someone the CEO comes to for advice, HR related or not.

– Is your HR function strategic? Has your structure been set up to give them that luxury?

Step 2. Ask yourself the tough questions:

– Are you the problem? Potentially your HR team has the capability to deliver much more than you’re currently allowing them to.

– Have you ever seen HR operate in a truly strategic capacity? If not, ask your network. What business leaders do you know who count their HR leader as one of their first ports of call when considering a strategic business decision?

– Do you really consider establishing the culture of the workplace as a priority? How much thought have you given, how much strategic planning time? How linked do you see the workplace environment to reaching your goals as an organisation?

Step 3: Conduct a HR review:

Two years ago, I completed a piece of research for my Masters on how my organisation’s shared service functions were delivering on what the operational part of the business required (and the concept of organisational drift – thanks Snook). As a part of this work I examined the literature around how shared service teams evaluate their own work, vs those they business partner with. Surprise surprise, we’re often not great at critically reviewing our own work.

Be wary of engaging a random consultant to analyse your team, instead, go with recommendations and someone who has successfully reshaped HR teams for reasons driven by the business. This can’t just be a review of your HR function either – remember, the problem could be bigger than just the team! So, as well as their capability, capacity and ability to deliver to the business, look at their remit, the support and the responsibility given to the team.

Woah! That’s a lot of food for thought. If this is something that you’re keen to talk more about I’d love hear your thoughts.