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  • Danny

HR 3.0: Human Centric pt1

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

(This blog post is just a small excerpt from our informative newsletter. Sign up here to receive regular newsletters packed with valuable insights, and expert tips)

Time for a Human-centric HR... what does that even mean?

Well, to me it means to stop looking at people as resources, how to "manage" that resource and shift the lens of thinking to look at the full 360 of the human, their emotions, aspirations and things that make them individual i.e. their full self.

Now before anyone @s me on LinkedIn with the whole "we have a value which says you can be your full self" let me pause you (How rude, I know sorry)

I have worked with companies who have brought me in to challenge their values and often shown them a mirror of what something like "you can be your full self here" really means.... spoiler, it often means:

  • Only if you conform to what we think you can be your full self means.

Don't believe me, have a look at your leaver's data. I guarantee in that pool there will be a large selection of people who were awesome for your business but didn't conform to the parameter of what 'you can be yourself means:

  • Often they challenge the status quo.

  • Challenge upwards to a narcissistic leader who didn't like it.

  • Didn't fit into the cultural old normal of the business

Do I sound bitter?... I am but with good intentions.

I have interviewed and immersed myself into many people's work lives and heard far too many people with nightmare stories where they were told our culture is great, you can show up as you are here.... only to end up in an anti-human centric organisation juggling poor mental health, server anxiety and a feeling of impostor syndrome. I think the whole idea of values in a company is flawed and there are better ways to do it which will maybe come up in creating a measurement engine later on. When I think about what HR 3.0 means, I instantly think Human-centred and personalisation so let me clear up these first two terms first

Human-centred: An approach that seeks to understand the wants, needs, and tasks of a human in a given circumstance

Personalisation: to me is simply designing a product, service or experience that can adapt and change to meet a set of wants and needs and requirements.

So if we collectively agree that the people experience is a collection of products, interactions, experiences and services (PIES... yum) then we can reframe, take one click and reframe what human-centric HR 3.0 looks like to

  • What does a collection of human-centred products, services, interactions and experiences look like

  • How could we personalise the individual elements of this collection?

If we were to map this out it would be:

Note: My SPIES approach to People experience: Subscription, Products, interactions, Experiences, and Services. Don't worry about the arrows they will become clear in coming emails

This new reframe allows us to start challenging these elements with better type questions which will enable better design

Pressure testing the PIES with these types of questions instantly takes you from the giant challenge of 'we need a human-centric 3.0' to 'we need a collection of PIES that are human-centric and start to align to 3.0'

  • How might we personalise X

  • What would X want and need from Y product

  • What would X want and need from Y product in Z circumstance

What does personalisation even mean, that right there is a great question which we will get into now.

The Reality of Change

For me, applying customisation into HR 3.0 can be summed up into three killer questions

Is it collaborative: This is where a lead or (Person of power i.e. CPO) has shared a vision, but backers jump on board to support and shape the final product, Kickstarter is a great example of what this looks like. People can build on top of a core

Is it adjustable: If you ever played on consoles as a child or even now as an adult, you will have done some form of adjustment, on Call of Duty you can change the colour of your soldier's uniform. Even on your smartphone, you can adjust settings to suit your taste. The core of these products stays the same you just have a selection of levers and dials that you can change to make it feel more personalised

Is it omni channel: These adjustments need to be threaded throughout. There is no point in having these adjustments happen on one touch point and not threaded through the rest of your people's experience on and offline. If it's not threaded you often are left with an Insta vs Reality moment (see below)

Is it personal: This is the type of customisation that is very personal and direct to you, it acknowledges your unique preferences in your personal and professional life as well as key contributions you make to both.

Here are some quick ideas and solutions from my back catalogue that you could apply pretty easily from tomorrow:

Personalised Onboarding Kits: We often ask at the interview stage, so X tell us about yourself and then do jack all with the information. Why not capture this at the recruitment stage instead of a standard welcome kit for every new employee, HR could curate a kit based on the employee's hobbies or interests. For instance, if an employee loves reading, include a best-selling book in their field or a journal. If they're into fitness, perhaps a branded water bottle or a yoga mat.

Customised Workspaces: Mac or Windows, Desk or Standing Desk. Allow employees to design or choose elements of their workspace. This could be as simple as selecting ergonomic furniture, choosing plants for their desk, or even picking the colour of their workspace accessories. The 90s came along with awesome British pop like Oasis however we also saw many people in HR, whom I’ve spoken to, say it was a big shift from the tactical to the strategic, again depending on where the business maturity was at the time. It started to look at areas such as talent management and succession planning. At around the same time, we started to see the increase in technology used to manage some of the tactical tasks and store employee data.

Birthday and Anniversary Celebrations: Instead of a generic cake or card (if you even get that) HR could find out the employee's favourite dessert or a hobby-related gift. For anniversaries, a handwritten note from the team or a small gift that aligns with the employee's tenure and contributions can make a difference. Many HR functions are collecting data and yet are missing the massive opportunity of making it meaningful to the human and people experience

Human-Centric Feedback: Why do we wait for people to join and embed into the business before we get into feedback approaches, often only when we really need to as well i.e. if something goes south or extremely well? We could move away from standardised annual reviews. Instead, have regular check-ins that focus on the individual's well-being, aspirations, and challenges driving continuous feedback and growth. The magic is in how, where and when you capture this in the PX journey I'll get into this more in my free email course being released soon.

Mentorship Programs: What happens if you don't have a mentor in the business who fits the specifics, instead of assigning mentors randomly, match employees with mentors based on shared interests, career goals, or even personality types. This ensures a more organic and beneficial relationship or creates a PX that means you can stretch your mentor pool outside of the business and know your people won't get enticed elsewhere.

Okay so we know we can distil down from the big we want HR 3.0" to we want a portfolio of PIES aligned to HR 3.0

From here we know we can start to challenge each of these elements and ask what these look like when personalised and human-centric.

Next time we are going to look at the next challenge of being more human-centric for HR 3.0 by zooming in on how we capture data and insight, The answer is simple but it doesn't mean it's easy!

(This blog post is just a small excerpt from our informative newsletter. Sign up here to receive regular newsletters packed with valuable insights, and expert tips)

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