Episode 61 HR Coffee Time

Do you lack confidence about how to be strategic in your HR or People professional role? Perhaps you’ve even missed out on job opportunities because you haven’t been able to prove you can operate at a strategic level? On this week’s episode of HR Coffee Time, Career Coach Fay Wallis shares the four pillars that will help you to be strategic in your HR role.

Key Points From This Episode

[00:02] Fay refers to episode 57: Using the Johari Window to develop & grow in your HR career

[02:28] The first pillar – making sure you have strong operational foundations

  • Having a clear process
  • Be sure to have enough resources
[06:00] The second pillar – Developing and honing your business acumen

[12:20] The third pillar – relationship building and influencing skills

  • Building relationships with difficult people within the workplace

[13:54] Fay refers to previous episodes that focus on the different ways to help you build relationships and influencing skills:

[17:13] The fourth pillar – using measurements, evidence and relevant analytics.

[17:40] Fay refers to episode 58: How to feel more confident using data & analytics in your HR role, with Angela Moyle

[19:19] Fay shares a tool she uses within her Inspiring HR group programme

[21:10] Fay dives deeper into what the Kaplan and Norton balanced scorecard is

[23:18] Fay refers to episode 33: A helpful framework for career conversations at work, with Steve McIntosh

[25:20] Fay provides further information regarding her HR planner

Useful Links

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If you’re kind enough to leave a review, please do let Fay know so she can say thank you. You can always reach her at: fay@brightskycareercoaching.co.uk.

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Transcript
Fay Wallis:

Welcome back to another episode of HR coffee time with me your host Fay Wallis. If we haven’t met before, I’m a career coach with a background in HR. And I’m also the founder of Bright Sky Career Coaching. HR Coffee Time is a podcast just for you to help you have a successful and fulfilling HR career without working yourself into the ground. I know back in episode 57, when I talked to you through how to use the Johari Window to develop and grow in your HR career, I said I was going to create a few episodes about feedback. Well, I promise I haven’t forgotten that, I still will create some more solo episodes about feedback.

Fay Wallis:

But I’m going to sneak in a different topic today. Because I’ve spent a lot of time talking to my coaching clients about it over the past week. And I’ve been told it was really helpful. That topic is being strategic. So I’m going to share with you the four pillars that will help you to be strategic in your HR or people professional role. Because I know from having worked in HR before starting my coaching career, and from all the HR and people professionals I work with, but the words, you need to be more strategic can strike fear into your heart.

Fay Wallis:

Over the past couple of months, I’ve had people tell me, they’ve missed out on getting a role because they couldn’t prove they were operating at a strategic level. And they just didn’t know how to fix that. Or I’ve had other people tell me that they don’t feel confident in their HR leadership role, because they’re not sure if they’re being strategic, or how to be strategic. And that lack of confidence about it is hanging over them like a cloud. So many people have asked me how on earth they do this, how they become more strategic, because strategy can feel like a lofty, complicated, hard to get your hands around topic, something that you may never have been formally taught how to do. But it really doesn’t need to be this way. I’m going to talk you through the four pillars that will help you to be strategic in your HR role. And I promise, they’re not hard. I really hope that they help.

Fay Wallis:

The first pillar is to make sure that you’ve got strong operational foundations. And what do I actually mean by this? So the idea of having really strong foundation sunk in for me, when I was coaching a COO who was responsible for setting the strategy for the entire organisation that he was joining. And I loved the way that he described it. So he said Fay, there is no point me going in there and saying this is what our grand strategy is going to be. If I haven’t put down some rubble first. And I said, What do you mean by rubble? So he explains, imagine you’re building a huge new building, the first thing you’ve got to do is dig down so that you can put in the foundations, and you’re going to sprinkle I don’t know, sprinkles the word scatter. Speed over, I don’t know, you can see I’m not a builder, but you’re going to sprinkle the rubble around, you’re going to put all that rubble down, so you can then put the foundations in place. And once all of that is there, you can put the building on top of it. And the building that goes on top of it is your strategy.

Fay Wallis:

So what are the kinds of things that it’s going to be helpful for you to think about when it comes to those foundations? It’s going to be things like having good systems? So are you having to use 101, Excel spreadsheets to manage everything? Are you having to track stuff in all different folders and all different files all over the place? Or have you managed to get a really good HR system in place? If you haven’t got the budget for good HR system? Because maybe you’re working for a really little organisation? Then if you are operating from a spreadsheet, that’s fine, but is it as efficient as it could be? Is it organised? Is it all up to date? Are you fully compliant? So are you making sure that you are meeting all of your duties for the organisation from a compliance perspective? As far as your HR responsibilities are concerned? Have you got efficient processes? So if you’ve got other people working alongside you, is it easy for them to follow a process? Do they know what they’re doing? Do you know what you’re doing? Are you having to think back each time you’re asked to do a particular task?

Fay Wallis:

I promise it sounds so boring. And I hate doing it but when you actually sit down and make yourself map out the process, you think, why on earth didn’t I do this before, because research shows that, as people, we’re terrible at remembering the steps for things that we need to do. It’s why people who do really, really important life critical jobs have to have checklists. So if you go on an aeroplane, you’ll see that actually, there’s a checklist that the cabin crew or the pilot have to physically tick through before they’re allowed to start flying that plane. If you go in for surgery, that is a checklist that everybody in that team who are looking after you have to make sure they’re ticking through before they’re allowed to operate on you. Because it’s been proven that checklists help. And so having a process written down that is actually used is a way of having your own checklists, I promise it will really help to speed things up.

Fay Wallis:

But it will also help make sure that you’re providing an accurate service, and that you’re able to have other people support you. Because we all know people who just looked like they’re drowning in work, because they can’t relinquish control, because they don’t have the time to delegate. So it’s a really good habit to get into, even if you’re in a standalone role, because hopefully, if you are in a standalone role, at some point, you’ll be given some additional resource to help you, which points out my next step about having strong operational foundations, which is, have you got enough resource.

Fay Wallis:

So if you are in a standalone HR role, have you gotten to the point actually, where the organisation has grown enough that you need to start bringing at least one other person on board to help you or tap into some other resource that already exists in the organisation to help you. Because it’s very hard to be strategic. If you are just constantly firefighting, or completely sucked into all of the transactional activities that take place every day, you have to make sure you’ve got a tiny bit of slack, a little bit of leeway to be able to focus on the strategic things as well.

Fay Wallis:

The second pillar that’s going to help you to be strategic in your HR role is making sure you’re developing and honing your business acumen. So what do I mean by business acumen? Well, I mean, your understanding of the organisation that you work for, and your understanding of the environment that it’s operating in. This is something I have looked at once before on the podcast. So if you want to hop back to Episode 26, which is called how to be more strategic in your HR leadership role, it’s actually the second most popular episode out of the 60 episodes I’ve created for HR coffee time so far, in that I share something that’s called my HR strategy shaping interview templates, it is not a very snappy title, one of my strengths is not coming up with concise, short titles. So if you’ve got anything better for me, please feel free to tell me I’ll very happily rename it. But when I created this template, I very much had in mind the idea of people who are starting a new role, but actually you can use it at any point, it can be very easily adapted.

Fay Wallis:

So the idea with the HR strategy shaping interview template is that it gives you key areas to focus on and key questions to ask throughout the organisation. So it’s all about sitting down with people from other teams within the organisation to properly learn and understand what their products are, what their services are, how they’re performing, what they’re finding difficult, what their priorities are. And that way, you can really start to get more of an insight and build up a much more rounded picture of the organisation. So you can realise the challenges that exist, that perhaps you need to address in your strategy. Because there’ll be definitely often ways that you can impact on those challenges positively, through things that you can put in place with an HR strategy. So that is all about looking internally and properly understanding the organisation that you’re in.

Fay Wallis:

But one thing I don’t think I really talked about in that episode, I’ll have to listen to it again, myself as well to check. It’s about understanding the environment you’re operating in. So obviously over the last couple of years, oh my goodness, we’ve never known anything like it with the pandemic and changing Prime Ministers and the recession and it’s just been unbelievable the amount of change that we’ve all been through. And so naturally most of us are definitely watching this News and keeping on track of these things. And all of this, of course, is having an impact on the organisation that we work in, whether that’s a positive impact or a negative impact.

Fay Wallis:

So you have to have an understanding of how it is impacting on the organisation. And so how you may be able to respond to it, that can help to inform any strategy that you’re going to come up with, whether you’re coming up with that strategy on your own, or hopefully in collaboration with the rest of the senior leadership team, or with other people within your HR team, if it’s just a specific HR strategy, rather than the whole organisational strategy. And it’s not just their political environment that you need to think about. It’s also being aware of things like the competition. So what are your competitors up to? What are they doing? Are they coming up with some really great initiatives that are actually making your team and your organisation less appealing? What are they doing for the people that work in their organisation to make their lives better, and to support them and being successful in attracting them into roles or developing in their roles?

Fay Wallis:

Are there things that you could be doing to do that even better with them, or at least keep up with them or be able to compete with them really well. And alongside that is the idea of just keeping in touch with what’s going on in your industry or your sector. So there are always going to be industry related, magazines, events, things you can go to just so that even if it’s a sector you’re not riveted by, or one that you find really, really interesting, you are keeping on top of the trends, the challenges, the things that are happening, because it’s by having that sort of bird’s eye view across all of this, that you’re going to be able to come up with really valuable ideas for your strategy, and be a really valuable member of the organisation. And especially if you’re in the senior leadership team, or you’re aiming for that senior leadership team, this is really going to help you to speak credibly, and come up with some brilliant ideas.

Fay Wallis:

The third key pillar are your relationship building and influencing skills. And this is something that does seem to come quite naturally to a lot of the HR and people professionals that I speak to and work with, because we’re often drawn to the profession because it involves working with and supporting people. So it means that we’re often quite good at building relationships. However, when you’re operating at a strategic level, it’s not just about being good at building relationships on a one on one level, you also need to be able to influence across the entire organisation. So that can present a couple of challenges.

Fay Wallis:

First of all, there may be someone who you find particularly tricky, or who you clash with, but who is an important member of either your peer group or the senior leadership team or has a very strong voice throughout the organisation. So without getting their buy in, and without getting them on board, it can be hard for you to implement your ideas or to get buy in for your ideas. You’ll also find that when you want to roll out new initiatives or new parts of the strategy, you need everyone in the whole organisation to be bought into those or otherwise they’re just going to sink without a trace. So the influencing skills you need that can be ever so slightly different. But these things are aspects that I have taken a deep dive into on several occasions on the podcast before.

Fay Wallis:

So I’m just going to tell you what those episodes are. Which means that if you really want to build up your relationship building and influencing skills, you can just hop back and take a listen to them. So they are episode three, which again, it’s one of the most popular episodes I’ve ever released, which is called building relationships with difficult people at work. But that is a good episode to listen to. Even if you’ve got brilliant relationships with everyone at work and there isn’t anyone that you’re finding difficult or challenging, because it talks you through the disc profiling tool, which is all about looking at the fact that we all have different behavioural preferences and different ways that we like to be communicated with.

Fay Wallis:

And you can very roughly separate these different preferences into four different categories, which is where the word disc comes from. So D stands for dominance. Ai stands for influence. S stands for steadiness and MC stands for conscientiousness, I’m not going to go into detail about those different elements now. But being aware of them means that you’re able to adapt your communication styles to make sure that you are appealing to the preferences of all of those different styles. So just to give you a very quick overview of that, people who have a C style, often are very analytical, they’re very precise, they like data.

Fay Wallis:

So for people with that profile, it can be really helpful to make sure that when you are putting a suggestion to them, or an idea for your strategy, whether that’s for them to buy into and agree to the strategy or to implement it, it’s going to help your case and help convince them if you are including data and metrics and very clear logic and rationale behind your decision, whereas someone with an eye profile is more likely to be swayed by emotion, and by appealing to feelings and the fact that you’re making these suggestions because they’re the right thing to do. So that’s a super, super, super quick look at it. But I’d really recommend hopping back and listening to that episode, if you want to learn even more about that.

Fay Wallis:working alongside hundreds or:Fay Wallis:

That brings us to the fourth pillar, which is all about using measurements, evidence and relevant analytics. Because by looking at data, we can be much sure that we’re on track with the right ideas for our strategy, or that the strategy is working, or that we need to intervene. And if you’re thinking, Ah, no, please don’t say this to me, Fay.

Fay Wallis:

I just feel so nervous and lacked confidence when it comes to data and analytics. Please don’t worry, I was incredibly lucky to have Angela moyle on the show back in episode 58. So it was only a couple of episodes ago. And she talked through how to feel more confident using data and analytics in your HR role. So she absolutely took things back to basics, which I just thought was so helpful, because she gives you a really solid foundation to build from and talks about the kind of data that is useful for you to look at the kind of metrics so the kinds of KPIs that you might want to be thinking about. And I promise that listening to that episode will help if it’s something that you really don’t feel confident about at all.

Fay Wallis:

I have had such wonderful feedback about that episode, I’ve had some students who are doing their CIPD level five get in touch to say it’s really helped them with writing their assignment, which was just wonderful to hear. So hopefully it will really help you to, but to help bring this idea of data and analytics and KPIs to life, and help you really think through how you can use this to be strategic and to come up with a strategic plan for the organisation or for the HR department, I thought it would be helpful to just talk to you about something that I dive into in in a bit more detail in inspiring HR, my group programme for HR professionals. And actually, we were looking at this last week.

Fay Wallis:

So I just like you to imagine for a moment that you are going to get on a plane to fly somewhere. Now if you step onto that plane and you’re greeted by the pilot, and they say, welcome. We can’t wait to take you on this flight. But just to let you know, all of our instruments have broken, but don’t worry, one of them’s still working. We can still track and measure the wind speed. Come on to the plane. Here’s your seat. When she gets on that plane. I sincerely doubt it. There’s no way that I am ever going to get onto a plane where they’ve only got one instrument working so this is a really clever analogy that two people could Kaplan and Norton used when they introduced the balanced scorecard to the world. And I’m sure that you may well have heard of the term balanced scorecard before.

Fay Wallis:

But you may not have actually seen that original work around this. I know that I hadn’t, I always used to think when I was in my HR role that balanced scorecard just meant making sure you’ve got some metrics that are balanced. So you’re not just looking on one part of the organisation. So you’re not just looking at the wind speed on that plane, for example. But actually, it’s more specific than that. So they pointed out that for a pilot to fly, well, they have to have really detailed information in front of them about all different sorts of aspects of the flight, they need to know about the field, the airspeed, the altitude, the bearing the destination, and all sorts of other things that are going to help them to navigate the current environment, and to be able to predict what future environments they’re flying into, while they’re on that flight with you sat down on the plane.

Fay Wallis:while ago now. I think it was:Fay Wallis:

So on their balanced scorecard, they look at financial perspective. So they say, how do we look to shareholders, if you’re not working for an organisation that is owned by shareholders, then that’s fine, you can substitute the word shareholders for something that’s going to be more relevant. But within that statement, so within financial perspective, you want to have some goals. So where are you headed towards in your plane? And he wants to have some measures? So what KPIs Can you put in place to know that you’re on track for the right destination? Then the next part of the balanced scorecard is internal business perspective. So what is it that the organisation needs to excel at, internally.

Fay Wallis:

So again, you can look at this from a whole organisation perspective, looking at all of the other departments and functions if you’re operating at a very senior level. Or you can consider this just for your HR team, if you just want to be strategic, from an HR perspective. And again, you want to have goals and measures. So well, where are we going with this? What are we aiming for? And how can we check that we’re on track? Then the next thing they talk about is an innovation and learning perspective.

Fay Wallis:

Now, innovation is something that came up quite a few episodes ago, it was episode 33, which was called a helpful framework for career conversations at work with guest Steve McIntosh. And what Steve pointed out is just what an essential skill innovation is to be successful in the modern workplace today. So I thought that’s really interesting seeing it coming up again. So from an innovation and learning perspective, what can we continue to improve and do to create value? How can you encourage people to be innovative to learn to develop? So not just for themselves? But also what’s the organisational learning? How can you really encourage people to make sure that they’re sharing ideas, sharing knowledge? What are the skills that you need to make sure everyone in the organisation is developing and keeping on top of to make sure that the organisation is current and competitive and doing brilliantly?

Fay Wallis:

So again, with Innovation and Learning, have a think about, okay, where are we headed here in our plane? What goals do we need to set? And then what KPIs can we have to measure that? And then the final piece of the balanced scorecard is how do customers see us? So they have a section in there for customer perspective. And of course, you can look at this from two different perspectives. So how do external customers perceive us? That’s really important, especially if you’re contributing to strategy from a whole organisation perspective, rather than just at to a level for you as the HR team for just your HR strategy. But if you are thinking about this for your HR strategy, all of your customers are the internal people that you work alongside everyone within the organisation. And oh my goodness, there is just so much that you can do about this.

Fay Wallis:

And this is where you might find your HR planner helpful. So if you haven’t already got the free PDF Printable version of my HR planner, I will make sure I pop a link to it in the show notes for you so that you can get it. And if you have got it, and you’ve printed it off and forgotten all about it and not looked at it, I’d just like to encourage you to get it out and take a look. Because on there, there are lots of prompts and tips. And I have a visual of the employee lifecycle to help you really think about the key elements that anyone joining your organisation goes through. So it encourages you to think about, Okay, what’s your employer brand? Like? What are people’s experience of you when they’re thinking of potentially applying for a role?

Fay Wallis:

What’s the recruitment process? Like? What’s their onboarding experience? Like? What’s their development? Like, once they’ve joined? And they’re in the role? How do you treat them when they go through life events? So whether that’s getting married, whether it’s getting caring responsibilities, whether it’s having a significant birthday, whether it’s falling ill, all of those life events that most of us experience many of throughout our lives while we’re at work, then what kind of things does the organisation do to retain them and show that they’re valued? How are they rewarded?

Fay Wallis:

What benefits do they get? When it’s time for them to leave? And they separate from the organisation? Whether that’s their decision or your decision? What’s their experience, like then? And finally thinking about it from an alumni perspective? So once they have left? Do you stay in contact with them? Is there any way of them staying connected with the organisation, it can be a really helpful tool just to look at to help you reflect and think and then decide, okay, so in my aeroplane, Where am I headed with all of this? What goals do I want to set myself? And then what measures can I put in place to check that I’m staying on track and doing really well?

Fay Wallis:

Let’s wrap up today’s episode with a quick reminder of what we’ve covered because it has been quite a lot. So we have looked at the four pillars that will help you be strategic in your HR role. First, we looked at putting down that rubble and laying the foundations for your strategy by making sure you have strong operational foundations. The second pillar was your business acumen, making sure you have a good understanding of the organisation you work in the environment. It’s operating in the industry or sector and the competition. The third pillar is the ability to build key relationships and influence across the whole organisation.

Transcript
Fay Wallis:

Welcome back to another episode of HR coffee time with me your host Fay Wallis. If we haven't met before, I'm a career coach with a background in HR. And I'm also the founder of Bright Sky Career Coaching. HR Coffee Time is a podcast just for you to help you have a successful and fulfilling HR career without working yourself into the ground. I know back in episode 57, when I talked to you through how to use the Johari Window to develop and grow in your HR career, I said I was going to create a few episodes about feedback. Well, I promise I haven't forgotten that, I still will create some more solo episodes about feedback.

Fay Wallis:

But I'm going to sneak in a different topic today. Because I've spent a lot of time talking to my coaching clients about it over the past week. And I've been told it was really helpful. That topic is being strategic. So I'm going to share with you the four pillars that will help you to be strategic in your HR or people professional role. Because I know from having worked in HR before starting my coaching career, and from all the HR and people professionals I work with, but the words, you need to be more strategic can strike fear into your heart.

Fay Wallis:

Over the past couple of months, I've had people tell me, they've missed out on getting a role because they couldn't prove they were operating at a strategic level. And they just didn't know how to fix that. Or I've had other people tell me that they don't feel confident in their HR leadership role, because they're not sure if they're being strategic, or how to be strategic. And that lack of confidence about it is hanging over them like a cloud. So many people have asked me how on earth they do this, how they become more strategic, because strategy can feel like a lofty, complicated, hard to get your hands around topic, something that you may never have been formally taught how to do. But it really doesn't need to be this way. I'm going to talk you through the four pillars that will help you to be strategic in your HR role. And I promise, they're not hard. I really hope that they help.

Fay Wallis:

The first pillar is to make sure that you've got strong operational foundations. And what do I actually mean by this? So the idea of having really strong foundation sunk in for me, when I was coaching a COO who was responsible for setting the strategy for the entire organisation that he was joining. And I loved the way that he described it. So he said Fay, there is no point me going in there and saying this is what our grand strategy is going to be. If I haven't put down some rubble first. And I said, What do you mean by rubble? So he explains, imagine you're building a huge new building, the first thing you've got to do is dig down so that you can put in the foundations, and you're going to sprinkle I don't know, sprinkles the word scatter. Speed over, I don't know, you can see I'm not a builder, but you're going to sprinkle the rubble around, you're going to put all that rubble down, so you can then put the foundations in place. And once all of that is there, you can put the building on top of it. And the building that goes on top of it is your strategy.

Fay Wallis:

So what are the kinds of things that it's going to be helpful for you to think about when it comes to those foundations? It's going to be things like having good systems? So are you having to use 101, Excel spreadsheets to manage everything? Are you having to track stuff in all different folders and all different files all over the place? Or have you managed to get a really good HR system in place? If you haven't got the budget for good HR system? Because maybe you're working for a really little organisation? Then if you are operating from a spreadsheet, that's fine, but is it as efficient as it could be? Is it organised? Is it all up to date? Are you fully compliant? So are you making sure that you are meeting all of your duties for the organisation from a compliance perspective? As far as your HR responsibilities are concerned? Have you got efficient processes? So if you've got other people working alongside you, is it easy for them to follow a process? Do they know what they're doing? Do you know what you're doing? Are you having to think back each time you're asked to do a particular task?

Fay Wallis:

I promise it sounds so boring. And I hate doing it but when you actually sit down and make yourself map out the process, you think, why on earth didn't I do this before, because research shows that, as people, we're terrible at remembering the steps for things that we need to do. It's why people who do really, really important life critical jobs have to have checklists. So if you go on an aeroplane, you'll see that actually, there's a checklist that the cabin crew or the pilot have to physically tick through before they're allowed to start flying that plane. If you go in for surgery, that is a checklist that everybody in that team who are looking after you have to make sure they're ticking through before they're allowed to operate on you. Because it's been proven that checklists help. And so having a process written down that is actually used is a way of having your own checklists, I promise it will really help to speed things up.

Fay Wallis:

But it will also help make sure that you're providing an accurate service, and that you're able to have other people support you. Because we all know people who just looked like they're drowning in work, because they can't relinquish control, because they don't have the time to delegate. So it's a really good habit to get into, even if you're in a standalone role, because hopefully, if you are in a standalone role, at some point, you'll be given some additional resource to help you, which points out my next step about having strong operational foundations, which is, have you got enough resource.

Fay Wallis:

So if you are in a standalone HR role, have you gotten to the point actually, where the organisation has grown enough that you need to start bringing at least one other person on board to help you or tap into some other resource that already exists in the organisation to help you. Because it's very hard to be strategic. If you are just constantly firefighting, or completely sucked into all of the transactional activities that take place every day, you have to make sure you've got a tiny bit of slack, a little bit of leeway to be able to focus on the strategic things as well.

Fay Wallis:

The second pillar that's going to help you to be strategic in your HR role is making sure you're developing and honing your business acumen. So what do I mean by business acumen? Well, I mean, your understanding of the organisation that you work for, and your understanding of the environment that it's operating in. This is something I have looked at once before on the podcast. So if you want to hop back to Episode 26, which is called how to be more strategic in your HR leadership role, it's actually the second most popular episode out of the 60 episodes I've created for HR coffee time so far, in that I share something that's called my HR strategy shaping interview templates, it is not a very snappy title, one of my strengths is not coming up with concise, short titles. So if you've got anything better for me, please feel free to tell me I'll very happily rename it. But when I created this template, I very much had in mind the idea of people who are starting a new role, but actually you can use it at any point, it can be very easily adapted.

Fay Wallis:

So the idea with the HR strategy shaping interview template is that it gives you key areas to focus on and key questions to ask throughout the organisation. So it's all about sitting down with people from other teams within the organisation to properly learn and understand what their products are, what their services are, how they're performing, what they're finding difficult, what their priorities are. And that way, you can really start to get more of an insight and build up a much more rounded picture of the organisation. So you can realise the challenges that exist, that perhaps you need to address in your strategy. Because there'll be definitely often ways that you can impact on those challenges positively, through things that you can put in place with an HR strategy. So that is all about looking internally and properly understanding the organisation that you're in.

Fay Wallis:

But one thing I don't think I really talked about in that episode, I'll have to listen to it again, myself as well to check. It's about understanding the environment you're operating in. So obviously over the last couple of years, oh my goodness, we've never known anything like it with the pandemic and changing Prime Ministers and the recession and it's just been unbelievable the amount of change that we've all been through. And so naturally most of us are definitely watching this News and keeping on track of these things. And all of this, of course, is having an impact on the organisation that we work in, whether that's a positive impact or a negative impact.

Fay Wallis:

So you have to have an understanding of how it is impacting on the organisation. And so how you may be able to respond to it, that can help to inform any strategy that you're going to come up with, whether you're coming up with that strategy on your own, or hopefully in collaboration with the rest of the senior leadership team, or with other people within your HR team, if it's just a specific HR strategy, rather than the whole organisational strategy. And it's not just their political environment that you need to think about. It's also being aware of things like the competition. So what are your competitors up to? What are they doing? Are they coming up with some really great initiatives that are actually making your team and your organisation less appealing? What are they doing for the people that work in their organisation to make their lives better, and to support them and being successful in attracting them into roles or developing in their roles?

Fay Wallis:

Are there things that you could be doing to do that even better with them, or at least keep up with them or be able to compete with them really well. And alongside that is the idea of just keeping in touch with what's going on in your industry or your sector. So there are always going to be industry related, magazines, events, things you can go to just so that even if it's a sector you're not riveted by, or one that you find really, really interesting, you are keeping on top of the trends, the challenges, the things that are happening, because it's by having that sort of bird's eye view across all of this, that you're going to be able to come up with really valuable ideas for your strategy, and be a really valuable member of the organisation. And especially if you're in the senior leadership team, or you're aiming for that senior leadership team, this is really going to help you to speak credibly, and come up with some brilliant ideas.

Fay Wallis:

The third key pillar are your relationship building and influencing skills. And this is something that does seem to come quite naturally to a lot of the HR and people professionals that I speak to and work with, because we're often drawn to the profession because it involves working with and supporting people. So it means that we're often quite good at building relationships. However, when you're operating at a strategic level, it's not just about being good at building relationships on a one on one level, you also need to be able to influence across the entire organisation. So that can present a couple of challenges.

Fay Wallis:

First of all, there may be someone who you find particularly tricky, or who you clash with, but who is an important member of either your peer group or the senior leadership team or has a very strong voice throughout the organisation. So without getting their buy in, and without getting them on board, it can be hard for you to implement your ideas or to get buy in for your ideas. You'll also find that when you want to roll out new initiatives or new parts of the strategy, you need everyone in the whole organisation to be bought into those or otherwise they're just going to sink without a trace. So the influencing skills you need that can be ever so slightly different. But these things are aspects that I have taken a deep dive into on several occasions on the podcast before.

Fay Wallis:

So I'm just going to tell you what those episodes are. Which means that if you really want to build up your relationship building and influencing skills, you can just hop back and take a listen to them. So they are episode three, which again, it's one of the most popular episodes I've ever released, which is called building relationships with difficult people at work. But that is a good episode to listen to. Even if you've got brilliant relationships with everyone at work and there isn't anyone that you're finding difficult or challenging, because it talks you through the disc profiling tool, which is all about looking at the fact that we all have different behavioural preferences and different ways that we like to be communicated with.

Fay Wallis:

And you can very roughly separate these different preferences into four different categories, which is where the word disc comes from. So D stands for dominance. Ai stands for influence. S stands for steadiness and MC stands for conscientiousness, I'm not going to go into detail about those different elements now. But being aware of them means that you're able to adapt your communication styles to make sure that you are appealing to the preferences of all of those different styles. So just to give you a very quick overview of that, people who have a C style, often are very analytical, they're very precise, they like data.

Fay Wallis:

So for people with that profile, it can be really helpful to make sure that when you are putting a suggestion to them, or an idea for your strategy, whether that's for them to buy into and agree to the strategy or to implement it, it's going to help your case and help convince them if you are including data and metrics and very clear logic and rationale behind your decision, whereas someone with an eye profile is more likely to be swayed by emotion, and by appealing to feelings and the fact that you're making these suggestions because they're the right thing to do. So that's a super, super, super quick look at it. But I'd really recommend hopping back and listening to that episode, if you want to learn even more about that.

Fay Wallis:working alongside hundreds or:Fay Wallis:

That brings us to the fourth pillar, which is all about using measurements, evidence and relevant analytics. Because by looking at data, we can be much sure that we're on track with the right ideas for our strategy, or that the strategy is working, or that we need to intervene. And if you're thinking, Ah, no, please don't say this to me, Fay.

Fay Wallis:

I just feel so nervous and lacked confidence when it comes to data and analytics. Please don't worry, I was incredibly lucky to have Angela moyle on the show back in episode 58. So it was only a couple of episodes ago. And she talked through how to feel more confident using data and analytics in your HR role. So she absolutely took things back to basics, which I just thought was so helpful, because she gives you a really solid foundation to build from and talks about the kind of data that is useful for you to look at the kind of metrics so the kinds of KPIs that you might want to be thinking about. And I promise that listening to that episode will help if it's something that you really don't feel confident about at all.

Fay Wallis:

I have had such wonderful feedback about that episode, I've had some students who are doing their CIPD level five get in touch to say it's really helped them with writing their assignment, which was just wonderful to hear. So hopefully it will really help you to, but to help bring this idea of data and analytics and KPIs to life, and help you really think through how you can use this to be strategic and to come up with a strategic plan for the organisation or for the HR department, I thought it would be helpful to just talk to you about something that I dive into in in a bit more detail in inspiring HR, my group programme for HR professionals. And actually, we were looking at this last week.

Fay Wallis:

So I just like you to imagine for a moment that you are going to get on a plane to fly somewhere. Now if you step onto that plane and you're greeted by the pilot, and they say, welcome. We can't wait to take you on this flight. But just to let you know, all of our instruments have broken, but don't worry, one of them's still working. We can still track and measure the wind speed. Come on to the plane. Here's your seat. When she gets on that plane. I sincerely doubt it. There's no way that I am ever going to get onto a plane where they've only got one instrument working so this is a really clever analogy that two people could Kaplan and Norton used when they introduced the balanced scorecard to the world. And I'm sure that you may well have heard of the term balanced scorecard before.

Fay Wallis:

But you may not have actually seen that original work around this. I know that I hadn't, I always used to think when I was in my HR role that balanced scorecard just meant making sure you've got some metrics that are balanced. So you're not just looking on one part of the organisation. So you're not just looking at the wind speed on that plane, for example. But actually, it's more specific than that. So they pointed out that for a pilot to fly, well, they have to have really detailed information in front of them about all different sorts of aspects of the flight, they need to know about the field, the airspeed, the altitude, the bearing the destination, and all sorts of other things that are going to help them to navigate the current environment, and to be able to predict what future environments they're flying into, while they're on that flight with you sat down on the plane.

Fay Wallis:while ago now. I think it was:Fay Wallis:

So on their balanced scorecard, they look at financial perspective. So they say, how do we look to shareholders, if you're not working for an organisation that is owned by shareholders, then that's fine, you can substitute the word shareholders for something that's going to be more relevant. But within that statement, so within financial perspective, you want to have some goals. So where are you headed towards in your plane? And he wants to have some measures? So what KPIs Can you put in place to know that you're on track for the right destination? Then the next part of the balanced scorecard is internal business perspective. So what is it that the organisation needs to excel at, internally.

Fay Wallis:

So again, you can look at this from a whole organisation perspective, looking at all of the other departments and functions if you're operating at a very senior level. Or you can consider this just for your HR team, if you just want to be strategic, from an HR perspective. And again, you want to have goals and measures. So well, where are we going with this? What are we aiming for? And how can we check that we're on track? Then the next thing they talk about is an innovation and learning perspective.

Fay Wallis:

Now, innovation is something that came up quite a few episodes ago, it was episode 33, which was called a helpful framework for career conversations at work with guest Steve McIntosh. And what Steve pointed out is just what an essential skill innovation is to be successful in the modern workplace today. So I thought that's really interesting seeing it coming up again. So from an innovation and learning perspective, what can we continue to improve and do to create value? How can you encourage people to be innovative to learn to develop? So not just for themselves? But also what's the organisational learning? How can you really encourage people to make sure that they're sharing ideas, sharing knowledge? What are the skills that you need to make sure everyone in the organisation is developing and keeping on top of to make sure that the organisation is current and competitive and doing brilliantly?

Fay Wallis:

So again, with Innovation and Learning, have a think about, okay, where are we headed here in our plane? What goals do we need to set? And then what KPIs can we have to measure that? And then the final piece of the balanced scorecard is how do customers see us? So they have a section in there for customer perspective. And of course, you can look at this from two different perspectives. So how do external customers perceive us? That's really important, especially if you're contributing to strategy from a whole organisation perspective, rather than just at to a level for you as the HR team for just your HR strategy. But if you are thinking about this for your HR strategy, all of your customers are the internal people that you work alongside everyone within the organisation. And oh my goodness, there is just so much that you can do about this.

Fay Wallis:

And this is where you might find your HR planner helpful. So if you haven't already got the free PDF Printable version of my HR planner, I will make sure I pop a link to it in the show notes for you so that you can get it. And if you have got it, and you've printed it off and forgotten all about it and not looked at it, I'd just like to encourage you to get it out and take a look. Because on there, there are lots of prompts and tips. And I have a visual of the employee lifecycle to help you really think about the key elements that anyone joining your organisation goes through. So it encourages you to think about, Okay, what's your employer brand? Like? What are people's experience of you when they're thinking of potentially applying for a role?

Fay Wallis:

What's the recruitment process? Like? What's their onboarding experience? Like? What's their development? Like, once they've joined? And they're in the role? How do you treat them when they go through life events? So whether that's getting married, whether it's getting caring responsibilities, whether it's having a significant birthday, whether it's falling ill, all of those life events that most of us experience many of throughout our lives while we're at work, then what kind of things does the organisation do to retain them and show that they're valued? How are they rewarded?

Fay Wallis:

What benefits do they get? When it's time for them to leave? And they separate from the organisation? Whether that's their decision or your decision? What's their experience, like then? And finally thinking about it from an alumni perspective? So once they have left? Do you stay in contact with them? Is there any way of them staying connected with the organisation, it can be a really helpful tool just to look at to help you reflect and think and then decide, okay, so in my aeroplane, Where am I headed with all of this? What goals do I want to set myself? And then what measures can I put in place to check that I'm staying on track and doing really well?

Fay Wallis:

Let's wrap up today's episode with a quick reminder of what we've covered because it has been quite a lot. So we have looked at the four pillars that will help you be strategic in your HR role. First, we looked at putting down that rubble and laying the foundations for your strategy by making sure you have strong operational foundations. The second pillar was your business acumen, making sure you have a good understanding of the organisation you work in the environment. It's operating in the industry or sector and the competition. The third pillar is the ability to build key relationships and influence across the whole organisation.