The HR Game Changer Blog

Designing the HR Department 2.0

This year the HR Game Changer conference continued to explore how we can transform and reinvent our HR processes. Over 2 days in Wellington and 1 day in Melbourne, ideas were discussed, challenges issued and new concepts explored. In fact what happened is that our line-up of incredible HR innovators, thought leaders, CEO’s and business entrepreneurs have created the recipe for designing the HR Department 2.0. So here’s the blue print:

  • Recruiting: Derek Handley, who’s been busy setting up the B Team with Richard Branson (while also waiting to go into space!) talked about recruiting not on skills and experience, but on values. During #theshouldertap he worked with Weirdly who built a survey based on the values he was looking for, and this created the shortlist, not people’s c.v.’s. Dale Clareburt, CEO of Weirdly then showcased how this worked and shared that Fletcher Building are using this approach to eliminate unconscious bias. If you want to see how Weirdly works, check out the Twitter stream for #hrgcnz to try out the HR Game Changer quiz. John Austin from Talegent talked about changing the game with your assessments. It’s not the obvious competencies that make someone successful in a role – you need to test for the hidden factor that makes all the difference (and we got to see Richie Macaw’s profile and why he makes such a great Captain. It’s not about competitiveness).
  • Measuring engagement: Reg Price from Mirrorwave talked about the many aspects of engagement surveys that disengage employees. Fundamentally people may not like filling in surveys, but they love being listened to. He shared how to use the concepts of followship so you can see each employee’s engagement over time, and long data being the new big data.
  • Recognition: Joy Adan from Redii talked about ‘employee of the month’ schemes only increasing productivity by 2%. For the same amount of money, it’s far more effective to recognise people 12 times a year, and pay $100 x 10, rather than $1000. In the case study she shared, productivity increased 12%. Redii also have an online wall where people can share their success stories which means everyone can celebrate success!
  • Restructures: Simon Sinek talked about companies expecting loyalty from employees, but then not showing any loyalty by cutting jobs when quarterly targets aren’t met. The HR division and leadership teams of the future needs to stop this approach. Simon shared a case study of a US company in financial difficulty who asked all employees to take 4 weeks unpaid vacation to save $20M. People then started helping each other out (e.g. those that could take 5 weeks did so some people only had to take 3 weeks). The company got back on track and employees were extremely loyal and productive. Perry Timms also talked about a Spanish company who have never fired anyone. Completely the opposite approach from most companies today.
  • Learning: Our international panel, (Perry Timms representing UK, Ben Eubanks from USA and Kellie Egan for Australia) talked about moving away from compliance type training to being learning curators. Provide different ways for people to find information. Kellie shared that at Atlassian they do a lot of peer learning. People can ask questions on Confluence and others can answer – HR doesn’t have to own answering HR policy questions.
  • Leadership: Metiria Turei discussed how the Green Party’s co-Leadership policy has built excellent succession, better decision making and engagement. Steve Maharey talked about CEO’s needing to bring the band together but not being the lead singer. Melissa Clark-Reynolds discussed that HR needs to be influencing the make-up of the Board because they set the culture of the business if they work with or against the CEO. In Melbourne Colin Ellis talked about being a conscious leader. It’s a decision, not a role people are given. HR needs to help leaders with this conscious decision.
  • Culture: Simon Sinek used the analogy of leaders being like parents – making sure people are being taken care of. Building a culture where people feel like their tribe is looking out for them takes time, but like exercise, while it’s hard at first, the long terms results are well worth it. Justine Troy confronted us with the idea that HR needs to help its business dream big. We have to be the biggest believers in what our business does, and we need to stop saying no. The word no is a dream killer. Ben Hayman from Assurity shared the journey of leading a high performance team who built the Gov.uk website which won the Design of the Year. You can be high performance within a traditional and slow moving bureaucracy if you believe in what you’re doing and let people take ownership.
  • Organisational Design: we deep dived into using Design Thinking to redesign your processes/structure and then Agile principles to get things done quickly. Neither are HR tools now, but should be!

Lastly we need to bring up the name of HR. In Dave Wild’s session we talked about HR actually being futurists. Derek Handley talked about building the HyperFactory and introduced the idea of ‘People Concierges’. We also talked about Airbnb’s Head of HR who has changed the title to Employee Experience and Xero who are using People Experience. Whether we change our name or not, HR has to stop delivering HR processes from the 1950’s.The HR Game Changer community are going to go out there and experiment to show the rest how it should be done! This is the future right here. It will be exciting to see what we achieve.

You can’t really summarise everything that happened in one post, so if you want to read more about changing the game:

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