Written by
Eugenio Pirri

Published
18 Dec 2015

What's on your New Year HR wishlist?

18 Dec 2015 • by Eugenio Pirri

Continue doing what makes you happy

There are so many people both in and out of our profession trying to tell us to be something that we are not. In fact, there are people working in our profession who are trying to be something they’re not.

You are in the function because you have chosen it. So with that in mind, stay true to yourself and work for an organisation that fits who you are and your values.

If they are aligned, you will both succeed and make a positive difference. However, while respecting your individuality, respect that of others as well – this will lead them to appreciate you and your decisions. HR leaders can offer inspiration – both internally and externally. How we act, what we do, how we listen, and the legacies we create are all in our control.

We grow from this in how we are inspired and how we inspire others, both as people and as business leaders. This becomes contagious – I have seen this in action time and time again.

Generate the power of employee engagement

For me, the fundamental value the new breed of HR (the one that has ‘grown up’ over the past five years) is delivering an engaged workforce. If you create this then you have happy, productive, motivated people who are delivering over and above every day for your customers.

This generates more customer satisfaction, more purchases and profit. It’s a fact. From this the business can grow and this provides opportunities for development and career progression for staff and enhanced productivity and profit for the bottom line. Ignore the naysayers (as there is proof!), and know that an engaged, motivated, values-driven workforce can be unstoppable and the potential is limitless. 

Productivity with a purpose

How can an organisation be productive and successful if its people don’t feel motivated and engaged to do their best and go the extra mile for a goal they all share?

I know, through detailed metrics and robust measurements, the impact that the development, engagement and management of great talent within our business has on: our people, through improving their future prospects; our communities, in nurturing social mobility; our guests, in providing them with world-class customer service; and our company, in positioning us to grow exponentially.

There is no greater evidence that learning and development leads to dynamic outcomes on the customer experience and therefore productivity. 

So while productivity is vital in delivering a product or service – if your people can see the link from their own role to the values of the business and its overall mission, it becomes all the more powerful. 

CSR Sustainable and engaging

So many studies show that people are not motivated by money, but by emotion. The same should be true for business objectives and I believe businesses can have the best of both worlds, establishing more sustainable, charitable ways of working which don’t compromise profit and growth, but build on them for the long term. 

CSR can benefit businesses in so many ways and if communities benefit also, it’s a win-win situation. On a basic level, encouraging staff to take part in CSR initiatives boosts morale, costs a business very little and makes employees feel they (and their employer) are giving something back to others. Staff shouldn’t be coerced, but through internal communications can be inspired to volunteer.

This connects to both innovation and engagement. On the innovation side people can be allowed to be creative and come up with exciting new CSR ideas, developing qualities such as project management, team building and empathy. 

Develop the next generation of leader

Embrace generations as their youth and knowledge will help you both to grow. After all, we should all be training our replacements and preparing the next wave of leaders.

I believe very much in the idea of an inclusive company culture based on shared values and a mission, where everyone is engaged together in the same ethos. And in my opinion, the ongoing conversation that generation Y and generation Z have about being treated differently from their predecessors (and, let’s not forget, colleagues) from generation X or the baby boom, counteracts this belief. Why do we as employers put our recruits into boxes, only to spend their entire careers attempting to get them out of these boxes?

In terms of an intergenerational workplace, the greatest opportunity presented to employers is to realise what you can and cannot change. Then work with your people to align them towards the common goal whilst allowing them to be themselves. Business success is a journey. Just as you were faced with challenges and took risks you owe it to others to give them the same opportunities. Don’t be afraid to work with those who know more than you, and at the same time look for potential in others who will grow through working with you.

And remember operational excellence is not the same as strategy

Sometimes I think that we misunderstand the difference between operational excellence and strategic HR. The former is ‘the people stuff’ done well – engagement, productivity and a gushing talent pipeline. 

The latter is putting in place the various parts of this and molding it into long-term sustainable growth and innovation, not just for ‘HR’ but for the whole organisation.

When you are creating your HR strategy, perhaps it’s good to refer to Michael Porter's classic book, ‘Competitive Strategy: What Is Strategy?’ as it involves the creation of a unique position, involving a different set of activities so you chose what and what not to do ensuring it fits into the company’s activities.  Operational excellence is doing it better than your competitors.  The same can be true of HR – get the basics precise, achieve operational excellence and then unveil your show-stopper. 

Generate the power of employee engagement

For me, the fundamental value the new breed of HR (the one that has ‘grown up’ over the past five years) is delivering an engaged workforce. If you create this then you have happy, productive, motivated people who are delivering over and above every day for your customers.

This generates more customer satisfaction, more purchases and profit. It’s a fact. From this the business can grow and this provides opportunities for development and career progression for staff and enhanced productivity and profit for the bottom line. Ignore the naysayers (as there is proof!), and know that an engaged, motivated, values-driven workforce can be unstoppable and the potential is limitless. 

Generate the power of employee engagement

For me, the fundamental value the new breed of HR (the one that has ‘grown up’ over the past five years) is delivering an engaged workforce. If you create this then you have happy, productive, motivated people who are delivering over and above every day for your customers.

This generates more customer satisfaction, more purchases and profit. It’s a fact. From this the business can grow and this provides opportunities for development and career progression for staff and enhanced productivity and profit for the bottom line. Ignore the naysayers (as there is proof!), and know that an engaged, motivated, values-driven workforce can be unstoppable and the potential is limitless.