eton Press: ARTICLE 1

As we built etonHR, myself and my co-founder dug deep on what we wanted to stand for, what we wanted change and what we would offer that was much greater for our clients. 

It was in this ‘discovery’ phase that we canvassed industry experts and in somewhat of a tangent, I found myself deep in conversation with Andrew Grimshaw (founder of MYLO Create) on the broader topic of creating value in HR, not just HR recruitment.

This a great time for HR to create more value

I have always felt lucky to work in HR and I continue to ask myself: ‘what is our purpose and how can we increase the long-term potential of our customers, our teams and employees?’

 ‘We are Unity’ research hub in Australia recently published a ‘2020 Progressive People & Culture report: The reinvention of HR. Below are three recommendations from the report that resonated most with me:

Businesses with psychologically safe cultures, where employees can try something new or make a mistake without fear, are five times more likely to innovate;

‘HR’ need to truly add value by understanding the ‘core’ problems & opportunities in their business; and

Sixty nine percent of HR leaders say decision making authority is not clearly defined in their business.

Here are three practical ways in how I believe HR can respond and make a profound impact:

  1. Prioritise psychological safety, mental health & well-being

 We can add value by building people manager capabilities in situational awareness to help recognise signs of fatigue in their teams, and provide well-being tools that help our employees approach these ‘hard’ conversations.

 The Department of Health confirms that 4.2 million Australians will experience a mental health condition during their lifetime, yet we are still struggling to talk about how we feel. ‘Speaking up’ requires immense courage and without doing so problems manifest.

 Creating an environment where it is ‘OK to not be OK’ will help drive strong employee engagement and discretionary effort. This will be an ambitious goal yet an impactful north star aspiration for HR.

  1. Give your employees room to do brilliant work

 We can help businesses to increase the pace of execution tomorrow. Building trust, seeking to understand internal pain points and respectfully challenging leaders to identify and remove non-essential tasks will give employees room to perform successfully.

In my experience, poor communication, unclear roles, responsibilities and bureaucratic processes are just some of the reasons why great people quit and leaders get frustrated. Corporate machines are paralysed by silos and levels of hierarchy which tragically suppress collective intelligence and great outcomes.

 HR teams can intervene by road mapping SMART solutions and improving the effectiveness of cross-functional relationships that help us make a faster and leaner business. This is a fundamental component of People Partnering.   

  1. Unlock new opportunities through your employees’ creative minds

 This is my favourite and, in my view, authenticity and creativity will be the surest enabler of a great business.

 For over sixty-five years, 3M has offered its employees 15% of their time to explore and collaborate in pursuing their next best product offering. Google are well known for awarding 20% of their time for personal research. Bernard Girard, author of The Google Way’, says that ‘Ideas quickly transform into products. Google keep listening because it knows breakthrough ideas can come from anyone’.

 We want our employees to feel heard, so creating platforms to enable this will be paramount. Businesses should reward brave and provocative employees whilst encouraging freedom of expression and ideation. Their moments of discovery and game changing behaviours will deliver your next best product and service offerings – these employees will be indispensable to your business.

 North star HR 

 Author, Mitch Joel defines collaboration as ‘opportunities for collision’. He describes in his book ‘Ctrl Alt Delete’, ‘moments of collision make the world go round – for example when creative designers are paired with software engineers and the results can be astounding, think iPad!’

A people first culture will transpire when leaders collide meaningfully with HR, Organisational Development and Reward specialists. People will become the best version of themselves, in a safe environment, allowing creativity and collaboration to flourish. All of which will be fundamental in building a better business.

This is an exciting time for HR teams to navigate their own destiny, clear roadblocks and make leaders more accessible. Leveraging HR technology and data analytics will help to quantify our commercial impact.

HR will become ‘value creators’ and I would passionately advocate to replace ‘HR’ with the, somewhat unconventional, ‘VC’ as our new job title.

 Imagine that.

 Written by Andrew Grimshaw – Founder of MYLO Create.



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