HR Mixtape 2019

I’ve posted on this blog about music before. It’s an integral part of my everyday life. I can’t workout without it, I can’t really relax without it and since we got an Alexa for Christmas which (who?!) lives in the kitchen, I can’t cook without it either. Spotify is always on the go somewhere. So, to think about music in relation to HR, as challenged by Mark Hendy, was irresistible to me. It’s been a crazy busy start to 2019 and I found this quite therapeutic. So, in no particular order…

  1. Thank u, next – Ariana Grande

I write this coming off the back of the Learning Technologies event in London and on social media, several attendees commented on L&D’s obsession with shiny new object syndrome. Whether it’s microlearning, LXPs or chatbots for learning, this song reminded me of that and the importance of seeing through the glitz and hype of new trends or technology to what really matters in terms of approach and strategy. I lost count of the times people asked me what was new in the exhibition and what they should be looking at. But I’d argue that there’s some more fundamentals that most organisations need to get right first (see next track…)

2) Shackles, Mary Mary

At Fosway, where I work, we have a bit of a saying that L&D has a ‘habit of delivery’. Years of running courses and workshops and later, creating e-learning, is a hard habit to break. And at the root of it all is an obsession with content in all its forms, whether that’s digital or face-to-face. What’s too often missing is a broader view of creating learning experiences that include purposeful practice, reflection, feedback, coaching and mentoring, – all things that help people learn which are not content focused. As per song one, it would be great to see a step away from some of the whizzy stuff to break the shackles of learning content and delivery.

3) Miss Independent, Kelly Clarkson

I was privileged last week to chair a panel session on women in L&D. Statistics show that not enough women are reaching senior roles in the profession – and whilst this might be less of an issue in broader HR terms, it’s still an important issue – both for women in the HR and L&D industry, but also as guardians of equality and diversity within organisations today, helping other professions champion women. I’m excited about the buzz that the panel and subsequent discussion has created and looking forward to continuing this conversation in a proactive way.

4) Everyday people, Arrested Development

Looking at HR more broadly, digital transformation continues across the board. Meanwhile, Brexit (sorry) and other economic forces are hugely impacting the acquisition and retention of talent in organisations. Both of which are challenges that have people at their heart. It’s easy to get distracted by technology when thinking about transformation projects, but unless you take people on that journey with you in an engaging way, and win their hearts and minds, then change – and therefore true transformation – is going to be difficult to affect. By the same token, attracting, developing and retaining the best people is going to be core to the success of most organisation’s futures. Scouting new talent might need to come from new quarters and I don’t believe talent management should be confined to any kind of ‘top 250’ any longer – ‘everyday people indeed’.

5) Let’s push things forward, The Streets

And finally, this one is self explanatory really! I hope this post doesn’t feel too negative, because I believe there’s lots of good to be had. HR and L&D could hold the key to unlocking people’s – and therefore – their organisation’s potential both now and in the future. So let’s push things forward.


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