Thursday March 16, 2017
Image: Vana Resourcing Directors Jo White (l) and Debbie Flowers (r) at the event venue
Today, Vana Resourcing joined hundreds of industry colleagues at HR Grapevine Live in London. Here are our key takeaways from the event.
1. The key themes…
- Change & Transformation
- Performance & Productivity
- Belief & Inspiration
2. We were particularly taken by…
Kathryn Pritchard, Group Chief People Officer at Odeon. Kathryn was brought in as part of a turnaround team two years ago, and the team used every lever to prepare the business for sale. It was sold last year at a good price to the best buyer on the back of 80% EBITDAR growth, showing an increase of 20% retail spend per head, with market share growth in every country and the #1 spot secured in the UK market for five years. According to McKinsey’s organisational wellbeing business measure, it was the biggest increase McKinsey had seen in history. Kathryn called out their success in creating what they termed as an ‘atmosphere’ that drove this achievement. Whilst she admitted her project ‘recipe’ pillars were nothing new, the difference came down to ‘how they lived it’. This involved creating a sense of belonging, having a very clear and transparent colleague journey, developing 100 new products and touchpoints to engage employees. They don’t do HR speak. Instead they ask employees ‘how they are’, call their exit interviews ‘fond farewells’ and highlight their high potential people as ‘brand heroes’. They also focus on the value of ‘fun’. They build on appreciative feedback, celebrate why they’re brilliant and multiply/ magnify it, with Odeon’s internal YouTube channel now taking on a life of its own thanks to colleagues uploading material. A month is also given over each year to celebrate their values through colleagues. When asked by an audience member how she would define engagement Kathryn said, “we don’t use that word – we talk about making working life better, we talk about motivation and fun. We involve colleagues – ask them what they want – flexibility, fun, and growth. We’ve developed a learning philosophy in 7 clear steps – it’s about growing as an individual but also growing and nurturing your peers and colleagues to release one another’s potential.” HR partnering of course has its place, but Kathryn was really passionate about brilliant HR expertise ‘leading’ an organisation - not always ‘partnering’ when sometimes their expertise can be watered down. By putting HR people at the centre of thought leadership, an organisation is consciously moving HR to a leadership position overall.
3. Trends consistent with those Vana are seeing in the industry…
- Digital transformation. Lars Hygnell talked about his leadership role in Electrolux’s digital transformation journey which touched 60,000 full-time employees globally. Their biggest challenge was shifting mindset – something they achieved through forming a ‘tribe’ mentality to build momentum for change. Lars talked about their combination of summits in-house with online learning and a digital transformation team that continually looked outside for inspiration – using digital collaboration opportunities and gamification throughout their change journey. 30,000 comments were duly received from colleagues engaging via social media platforms. Lars also talked about robotics/tech partners who were already colleagues in blue collar environments - this will be a new introduction for the white collar population as we move into the future. Lars and Chan Suh from Prophet talked about the ‘10x’ – a principle commonly used by tech companies in Silicon Valley including Google; ‘Thinking 10x bigger; aspire, dare more, try it’. Google are also infamously encouraging people to 'step big - learn - and fail well.’
- ‘Creating a marketing mindset to attract talent’ – the subject of a particularly enjoyable talk from Nimai Swaroop, Global Talent Engagement & Resourcing Director at Diageo. His key points were;
- the three pillars; Power of insights (build excitement), Raise Awareness (transmit who you are, not just what you do), Create Demand – awareness of our increasing ‘gig economy’ and the emergence of self-brand (‘what’s in it for me’),
- the growth of social conscience – prospective talent will validate an organisation’s commitment to this before they choose them as an employer,
- think about your employer brand, how you position it, have a deep understanding of talent you are looking to target and how perception aligns with the reality. It could be that who you might think is the best talent might actually not be best for you, and how reality looks inside the organisation compared to perception, those moments of truth - it’s the little things that make a difference,
- consider habitual profiling of talent – who they are, what energises them,
- develop and tell your ‘story’ to bring your organisation alive – it’s an emotionally led process.
- How HR can future-proof the business for all generations and future talent – a talk presented by Jim Richardson, Director of Talent Learning & Resourcing at Santander. With a significant millennial workforce (52% at Santander currently), and a recognition that people will be living longer (the government encouraging over 50s back into the workplace), it’s critical for organisations to invest in their OD function and specialist capability. Jim also talked about;
- reviewing resourcing and assessment processes – making these more mobile-enabled, quick, and responsive, e.g. EY topically announced gamification as part of their graduate assessment process recently. Video interviewing will also become more commonplace,
- performance management is now seen as out of date with a move to a digital app based on ‘in the moment’ conversations,
- respond to a demand for more variable pay and choice of benefits, offer sabbaticals and time to invest in charitable projects,
- people change jobs more frequently so more thought should be given on how to ‘off-board’ in the right way and awareness of brand impact (considering social media connectivity),
- environment is important – most common feedback in fin-tech sector is for break-outs to mix with other colleagues across functions - over a ‘quality coffee’ offering!
- Diversity – (something covered in Vana’s first blog of 2017). Deborah Yates, Senior VP of HR at Reckitt Benckiser, looked at developing leaders who can adapt to change. RB ‘don’t talk about change’ – instead RB talk about ‘leaning-in’ to ‘create a movement’ across their 47,000-strong global workforce. 70% of their consumers are women, but the general management team constitutes less than 2% women. RB have launched Project DARE which aims to develop, attract, retain and engage talented women. Initiatives include more options for flexible working and a global maternity policy which sets a minimum standard and places RB among the minority of employers with such a policy. Deborah also spoke about making the ‘why’ personal and sharing it, having a clear ‘what’ message so that the ‘how’ will come, and giving ‘space’ to colleagues to achieve the ‘how’, treating them as adults.
- Colleague experience – something also picked up by Jim from Santander. The vision is that traditional offices will go with people working more flexibly from anywhere. Organisations will create ‘gathering centres’ and encourage co-collaborative environments to break down silos. Wellbeing is also a key trend (and something we’ll be reporting on next week). One of the day’s most memorable quotes came from a presentation by Lifeworks – “don’t just catch them when they fall – engage and support physical, emotional and mental wellbeing every day”. Lifework’s app, for example, enables quick positive feedback - particularly prevalent for millennials. James Mitchell, Senior Director of Global Talent & Development at Rackspace, talked about a DNA of fanatical performance - ‘rackers’ being part of the family, induction as ‘welcome home’, free breakfast, and giving employees 100 hours of volunteering time which saw an uplift of 50% engagement for participants.
4. And finally - we were quite surprised by…
…Julia Ingell’s comment – “It’s not a failure to revert to analogue”. She reminded us of the definition of a conversation at a time when the digital world has stopped us talking, and advised how to embed the art of conversation again.