Being human…whilst racing through treacle blindfolded

Being human in the world of PlanetK2 is a value we live and work by. In recent times, we’ve been leading with this value. But what does it mean for us to be human?

At PlanetK2 we’ve been focusing with care and compassion, so people can adapt to the conditions they’re in now. We’ve been doing this ourselves internally and also with customers. Our initial focus has been on physical well-being and mental health, both fundamental to consistent and sustainable levels of good performance.

With many customers now though, we’re working on performing in these new conditions, doing the best we can in the current situation AND being ready for the future.

On a human level people are responding to a new set of conditions and that brings with it new challenges and demands and, therefore, requires an adapted recipe. As always, we’re working to help people find the optimal recipe to achieve the best possible results in their conditions.

We recently held a webinar Shooting the breeze with HR… with some incredible HR leaders in many varied arenas, sharing what we’ve been learning and asking ourselves questions to guide us, as we all start to build for a new normal.

We wanted to share what we discovered – in case it’ll help more of you out there. So here goes…

How well prepared were we? What have we learned?

  • Pretty much no one anticipated this specifically – hardly anyone was ready, even those who were most diligent in their organisational resilience planning – though those who had done some work on business continuity had some plans in place that they could adapt to work in these conditions.
  • We’ve learned that “what if…” planning is time well spent and some level of healthy paranoia is required for businesses to be as ready as possible for the unlikely. It has certainly heightened the importance of having a plan ready for the worst case scenario, whilst hoping you’ll never need to use that plan.

How well have we responded to this? What are we learning?

  • That said, as new knowledge became available businesses adapted quickly and well and feel proud of how they went about doing this. Yes, there have been difficult consequences in many organisations, but in general good decisions have been made and those decisions have been implemented well and we’re right to reflect with some pride on this.
  • Many had to reorganise the business on some level, and quickly. Proper process needed to be pragmatically adjusted to be fit for purpose in the conditions. For each of you it will be worth capturing and retaining information about HOW you did that and your recommendations for making your response even better if/when we have to respond to something similar in future. Remember, healthy paranoid is helpful.
  • People experienced a wide range of responses on a human level, HR needed to be aware of and sensitive to these human responses, while dealing with their own fears, anxieties and emotions in response. That is a substantial burden and an additional demand on HR leaders. Self care was paramount so you had the best of you available to take care of others and the business.
  • At the same time HR needed to be objective and emotionally removed at times so they could look at what this meant for the business and do what was required for their businesses to survive, cope, revive when we can and thrive on the other side of this. Only time will tell if we’ve got that right.
  • We don’t know what the new normal will be. There are lots of unanswered questions still and things to work on to ensure our response to this is the best it can be. More of these questions later, which may give us content for continued conversations.

How is the role of HR and leadership changing? What are we learning?

  • The HR leadership role has been more visible, more demanding and more important than ever with HR leaders stepping up to lead their organisation through this. HR leaders, when they work well, are often, in parallel with the CFO, the left and right hands of the CEO.During the response to this pandemic this has been even truer. HR has been front and centre stage. In some businesses this has happened where the HR role was previously seen more as a support function than a leadership function.Therefore this represents a potential step change in how the role is viewed – HR is no longer a support role, but an even more strategically important leadership function. Exactly where it needs to be if organisations and the people in those organisations are to fulfil their potential.
  • This meant that the personal challenges/demands on HR leaders ramped up hugely. These demands remain at a critically important level as we navigate the uncertainty now and look to plan for the future. Again, self care needed to be a strength in order for HR leaders to be resilient and able to perform effectively.
  • The challenge is ever changing at the moment. Some of the success ingredients required are: Being confident in the role you need to play; being able to adopt an objective and removed mindset; checking in more frequently with what’s changing; the ability to scan ahead, predict and be ready for what could happen.
  • All with a view to make both the organisation and its people fit for purpose now and in the future. Enabling the organisation and its people to survive, revive and thrive.

We also looked at what questions are coming up for us all

  • How is the role of HR changing and being viewed as a result of this? How can we keep dialling up the value of HR?
  • How is leadership changing? What’s needed from leaders? What’s good? What gaps are there?
  • How has your internal brand, culture and engagement been affected if you’re not co-located? What are the brand and cultural characteristics that have been valuable and strengthened through this and what’s been more difficult to maintain?
  • What’s your thinking about future working patterns and anything that might be different on the other side of this? If you’re going to need to return to BAU on the other side of this, what are your thoughts about getting people ready to return to work, either after furlough or when they return to work in the office? Is there an opportunity for a re-set? Do you think employee expectations might be different?
  • How are your rhythms and rituals going to need to be different? How are you going to manage performance through goal setting, performance reviewing, ratings, rewards, etc.
  • What are the positive things to be taken from this, and how can they be applied for  best future effect?
  • 20 years into the future – you’re giving advice to a young HR leader who is going to be leading through a similar set of circumstances. What advice would you give them?

These future view questions will form the basis for our next HR webinars…come join us if you’d like to be part of the conversation.

We’d love to hear from you.